Safety professionals “not influential”, research says
Research into how companies seek to achieve safety objectives has revealed that many may be failing because safety professionals are not engaged at a strategic level.
Registrar of the Australian OHS Education Accreditation Board Pam Pryor spent three years looking into the relationship between senior managers and safety professionals.
She initially found that safety professionals were not influential at a strategic level and this had the potential to impact on safety in the workplace.
Ms Pryor went on to research how this situation can be improved through a Masters by Research at University of Ballarat, now Federation University.
What she found was that those who were influential achieved that status because of their personal relationships with senior managers.
“A lot of it comes down to trust,” Ms Pryor said.
“If safety managers have credibility and have a shared understanding with their managers then they are more likely to be trusted to give advice at a strategic level.
“Unfortunately the reality is that this doesn’t happen often and safety professionals are confined to the technical implementation of safety strategy – rather than helping set the strategy in the first place.”
Through interviews with OHS professionals and senior managers Ms Pryor developed a model describing the factors contributing to such a trusting and so influential relationship.
She presented the findings at the Fluoro Conference, held in Perth earlier this week, and hosted by the Industrial Foundation for Accident Prevention (IFAP).
Managing Director Martin Ralph said Fluoro was a pivotal part of the safety industry being able to consistently improve outcomes.