The Juggler

How to be a safety champion

The word champion can be one of the most powerful words in the modern era.

 

(No wonder we named our awesome and very powerful safety software after it!)

 

We hear it repeated often and, in many contexts – like sport, business and politics – and across many forms of media and advertising.

 

So popular is this word that the noun has become the verb – we ‘champion’ specific causes!

 

 

The Cambridge Dictionary defines a champion as “a person who enthusiastically supports, defends, or fights for a person, belief, right, or principle”.

 

 

But what does it take to be a champion? More specifically, what are the qualities of being a champion that us ‘Ordinary Joes’ can apply on an everyday basis to make workplaces safer?

 

There are many quotes which have been uttered by sports persons, businessmen and politicians about what it takes to be a champion.

 

Perhaps these can best be summarised by the ‘championship qualities’ defined by sports journalist, best-selling author and business coach Don Yaeger.

 

 

A champion in the eyes of business coach Don Yaegar

Don developed his list based on interactions with sports and business champions over 15 years as a sports journalist and business coach.

 

  • Having contagious enthusiasm

  • Always being prepared, even in ‘off-season’

  • Visualising victory

  • Using adversity as fuel

  • Acting and reacting with careful consideration

  • Knowing how to adjust their game plan, quickly, when the unexpected occurs

  • Being willing to take on whatever role is necessary for the team to win

 

Don calls a person a champion when they know what needs to be done, and when they do what needs to be done, no matter how seemingly beneath him or her it might be.

 

In essence, a safety champion ‘walks the walk’, knows the power of networking, is always prepared, and never gives up.

 

 

A champion for workplace safety

 

We often talk about safety champions when it comes to health and safety. It’s a common phrase. So common, it’s the theme of National Safe Work Month 2019.

 

And we all have a sense of who those people are. They are the ones that really go all out with OHS to make sure we are all safe at work.

 

Need a safety software? Try our 100% free plan

 

They are the ones chasing up the tasks, making sure we are all reporting what we need to, putting up the signs around the office, and generally showing their support for workplace safety so we all go home safe at the end of the day.

 

But how can you be a workplace health and safety champion? Well, from a consultant point of view, we’d suggest you adopt a few or all of these principles and bring them into your business as usual.

 

  • Apply quality principals ie having a prevention focus with a continuous improvement approach.
  • Be an exemplar in working safely – always being on ‘display’, even when no one is watching.
  • Show respect for others in calling out and responding appropriately to unsafe behaviours. Knowing why the behaviour is unsafe will make this easier.
  • Ensure you provide or have access to safety knowledge with regards to risk management which is evidence based. The safety conversation will be easier if evidence for the proposed course of action is presented.
  • Be a good communicator! Communication (a key part of consultation) forms a cornerstone of modern safety legislation. To communicate effectively takes considerable skill. Coming up with new and interesting ways to present the ‘same old’ message is challenging.
  • Always being enthusiastic in all matters relating to safety. Enthusiasm for safety is a major contributor to effective communication.
  • Be aware as to where safety fits in with the big picture without compromising vision and belief.
  • Believe in the importance of eliminating workplace harm while acknowledging that zero harm may be unrealistic (the ‘higher power’?) and being able to visualise what a safe workplace looks like.
  • Acknowledge that emergent conditions can quickly escalate risk and prepared for and able to respond to all eventualities.

 

4 simple points to follow

Ok, ok. Maybe that was all a little too much. But don’t despair! Generally, being a safety champion in the workplace can be as simple as being actively engaged in your safety program.

But we have four neat points that anyone – no matter their position in the workplace – can take on board for a great safety culture.

 

  1. Ensure that you and your team have all the tools and skills needed to work safely.

  2. Report unsafe work situations or workplace incidents even if you are not directly involved.

  3. Walk the ‘safety’ walk. Follow the rules just as you’d expect everyone else to.

  4. Participate actively in relevant discussion and action to improve safety at work.

Try sharing these ideas with your team. These can be gold when it comes to building a stronger safety culture at your work.

 

If everyone in the workplace strives to follow these four simple principles above, it will be far more likely that safety will improve. Plus, if bring in some professional safety consultants to guide your safety program and a WHS software tool like Safety Champion, you will be well on your way to keeping everyone at work safer and healthier.

 

Of course, an entire workplace of safety champions is even better than one! Go for gold on that and get everyone on board!

The Juggler Part 4: 8 things you can do today to get action on safety

As you know through our Juggler series so far, the Juggler really is the ‘safety champion’ of many small or medium sized enterprises. But just like any champion out there, sometimes the Juggler might get stuck, lose motivation or veer off track.

So, Jugglers, here’s a little blog to help you get you on the right path, or stay on track if you are already there. Our 8 sure-fire ways to get action on safety in your workplace – starting today!

Not sure what we mean by the Juggler? Check out this blog.

 

1. Understand your organisation.

What sort of people do you work with? Have they been active in safety before? And if not, how do you think they could be motivated to engage in safety. Think about what makes them and the organisation as a whole tick.

2. Access training and guidance resources.

There are many resources you can access to skill up in safety. As a start, try downloading our free Health and Safety 101 course. It will step you through a good way to approach safety – even if you don’t have any current processes in place at all. We even let you in on some of the best free resources out there in episode 3. For more formal training information – see our blog Part 3 – The Juggler

3. Consult your colleagues.

Work with your colleagues and managers to discover what the big risks areas have been in the past. Investigate all injuries that have happened in the past. Then you can start to understand why they happened, and act on preventing them from happening again.

4. Have a plan.

Engage your boss in this step and ensure they are supporting your plan with safety. When your leader is on board – and actively encouraging the same from the whole team – safety becomes that much easier. As a part of this, make a list and agree on all the things that your workplace does, to prevent people from getting hurt – so completion can be monitored, and activities identified as important are not forgotten. This may include maintenance, training, meetings, inspections, etc.

5. Keep everyone informed.

Ensure that all your colleagues understand they are responsible for workplace safety, not just you. Encourage them to manage safety in their area and set up formal and informal opportunities for workers to resolve issues. And importantly, keep everyone up to date on how ‘we’ – as a team improving safety together – are travelling.

6. Monitor your plan.

Check in on your safety plan on a regular basis to ensure that things are getting done. An online Safety Management System with an easy overview dashboard display will make things a heap easier. Try ours 😉

7. Report back to management.

Create simple reports that you can share with your leadership team so that they understand what is going on with safety. This is a great way to see where you can improve, and to put your case forward for getting access to resources that will help you fill any gaps and keep things even safer. Report in the incidents that have occurred, suggestions that have been provided by the “team” or reporting back on “the things that your workplace does, to prevent people from getting hurt” – see point 4 above. Importantly, report back on your plan.

8. Check in with a professional.

It’s certainly a good idea to check in with a safety professional every so often to ensure that you are on track, in compliance with the legislative requirements, and doing the best you can to keep people at your workplace safe.

 

That’s it in a nutshell. These eight things really will make managing safety, amongst the rest of your workload, a lot easier. Hope it helps!

 

 

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Check out the other blogs in “The Juggler” blog series:

Part 1 – Who is the Juggler

Part 2 – Show your support to the Juggler

Part 3 – Training the Juggler

 

The Juggler Part 3: Training the Juggler

In many organisations, the Juggler is your “Safety Champion” – the person that keeps workplace safety on track and moving. Remember, the Juggler is the person, typically in smaller and medium sized businesses, who has been allocated the responsibility of ‘managing’ safety, in addition to their ’employed’ role.

 

As a result, the Juggler has often not completed formal safety training, which then impacts their ability to effectively manage your businesses safety program. In this article, we thought we’d share some of the training options that can help you give the Juggler the right skills to effectively do their job.

 

There are a few formal training course options:

  • The Health and Safety Representative (HSR) Training course – This course imparts extensive knowledge relating to consultation (through representation), legislation and incident investigation. However, areas such as risk management, technical knowledge, training and safety communication are also covered. The course varies from state to state. In Victoria, our sister-company Action OHS Consulting offer this course. Click for more.
  • The Certificate IV or Diploma in WHSThese courses address the skill needs of the Juggler but completion times are long – up to twelve months. Check with your local TAFE or RTO to see if they offer these courses.
  • For Queenslanders – WorkCover Queensland recognised a gap in training for the Juggler and has reintroduced training for the Work Health and Safety Officer (WHSO). The WHSO training provides knowledge in risk management, training implementation, and incident investigation skills.

 

Effective training and development solutions for the Juggler should include the following skill areas:

  • Understanding the legal and regulatory health and safety requirements –what does the law require you to do?;
  • Developing an approach to identify and manage risk (with a focus on serious risk);
  • Developing technical knowledge on areas specific to your organisation. This may include manual handling or ergonomics, hazardous chemicals, work at heights, etc;
  • Development of ‘communication’ and ‘influencing’ skills. Safety challenge’s often arise as a result of ineffective communication; and/or
  • Responding to incidents, and identifying strategies to conduct investigations, to best ensure that reoccurrences do not occur.

 

If formal training is not an option right now, or it’s something the Juggler at your workplace already has under their belt (yay!), the Juggler can also receive support by:

  • Subscribing to safety updates from their local regulator and Safe Work Australia.
  • Establishing a relationship with a certified safety professional. Think of this like how a bookkeeper maintains the company financial accounts on a day-to-day basis, but calls in certified Accountant for technical advice. Safety professionals can provide technical insights and advice when the Juggler requires specific safety assistance.
  • Adopt safety software – like, say, Safety Champion! Safety Champion will help you plan, and then guide and direct the Juggler to what they need from everyone else in the organisation. It helps everyone in the organisation understand their responsibilities and accountabilities, and means that the Juggler won’t have to police the implementation of your health and safety program. Often, this administration takes time, and policing is not fun, so it is not hard to see why this part of safety management is where the wheels often fall off.

 

Don’t forget – the Juggler is playing a super important role within your workplace. So show your love by giving them access to effective development options and support.

Check out the other blogs in “The Juggler” blog series:

Part 1 – Who is the Juggler

Part 2 – Show your support to the Juggler

The Juggler Part 2: Show your support for the Juggler!

The importance of the Juggler is clear, as many bosses and business owners know only too well.

 

Not sure what we mean by the Juggler? Check out this blog.

 

However, when your business introduces a Juggler – or many Jugglers – they really must be supported. And this is something that is often missed. Not supporting the Juggler in your business poses a risk. This means they are not in a solid position to keep health and safety in check and – as is important – are not able to continue to improve your health and safety program.

 

So, how can businesses show their support to the Juggler? Generally, support falls into three areas; leadership support, provision of training / instruction, and allocation of resources. Below is some practical advice for any business looking to help their Juggler out!

 

Leadership Support

The boss must communicate the need for all workers to carry out safety related tasks and, when required, must step in to support the Juggler. Whilst the Juggler will require that others complete safety tasks to support the implementation of the safety program; some people in the business may see these tasks as peripheral. If the Juggler is not able to articulate the importance of the safety task, this is where the boss needs to intervene. When a boss shows the support of the work of a Juggler – generally the rest of the staff fall in line.

Of course, this is made easier if the boss can easily see what tasks are required to be completed by all workers and track progress. A safety software like Safety Champion does help to provide this kind of oversight.

 

Training/Instruction

Since the Juggler is often performing a safety function without formal health and safety training behind them, it’s important to realise that they may need it so that they can perform well in this role. The Juggler often acts as the ‘representative’ of the boss, consulting and communicating with all employees. As such they must be able to speak with conviction to be able to influence others to get behind safety. Should specific technical safety knowledge be required, this can always be undertaken through other means – namely the Safety Regulator, by engaging advice from an OHS professional or employer groups. But the Juggler, no doubt, needs solid training and instruction about their role and responsibilities first.

There is a lot of free training that can be accessed via webinars, free conferences initiated by government departments, councils, industry groups or the regulator, and often free training that is offered by your Workers Compensation Agent. If you’re not sure where to look – Contact Us.

 

Safety Resources

The boss must be prepared to purchase required safety material and equipment to support the Juggler in their role. Resources like these should be part of any risk management solution, and should be budgeted for purchase, maintenance and replacement. One resource that is not often considered is possibly the one most effective in enabling the Juggler to do their work – that of data management. Being able to easily track and progress safety tasks that are being completed by others makes the work of the Juggler easier. And it makes it more likely that safety related tasks will be done, full stop!

So, yeah – it could be argued that this is the lifeblood of health and safety.

 

Having solid support in place to help the Juggler will mean that the boss and everyone else will benefit from effective health and safety practices, which everyone can be confident in making the workplace safety and often operationally more efficient.

The Juggler Part 1 : Who is the Juggler?

Workplace health and safety is all about preventing harm to people from the activities undertaken by a business. To achieve this, employers and business owners must understand they have a duty to provide a safe workplace for their employees and anyone else who comes on site or is impacted by what the workplace does. This means both understanding the health and safety risks facing your people, visitors or clients, and eliminating (*ideally) or minimising those risks as best you can.

 

To do this most effectively, everyone in your organisation must have input into the development and implementation of your safety solutions.

 

But believe it or not, often getting everyone involved is the easy part! At least, at the start. Generally, there is an initial willingness from everyone to be involved – especially if the boss is treating safety as a priority. However, for some workplaces, the challenge is to continue the businesses focus on safety, and to ensure that the agreed safety solutions, are maintained and remain effective.

 

When things get busy, or the boss moves on to “another” focus area, or no one has time to keep those safety checks and measures in place; yep, you guessed it, it is not uncommon for safety to fall ‘off the wagon’.

 

Enter the Juggler!

 

The Juggler is the worker who puts their hand up, or is assigned, management of the operational health and safety work that doesn’t readily fall into the roles or responsibilities of other workers. The Juggler either does these things themselves, or keeps everyone else on track to get things done. Why do they keep people on track?

 

Because often these are the things that others may not be focused on doing as part of their tasks.

 

Tasks may include, to name a few, doing and/or ensuring that the following is completed: inductions and identified training; safety and operational meetings; workplace, first-aid or emergency management inspections; equipment and Personal Protective Equipment ordering and maintenance; and incident reports and workplace injuries are managed appropriately. Importantly, the Juggler is often responsible for ensuring that records and evidence of completion is maintained.

 

The Juggler might be anyone in the business, from the business owner, to the office manager or the receptionist. But whoever they are, they face diverse work duties and manage these simultaneously… just like juggling.

 

So it’s often the juggler who is left with the responsibility of managing the implementation of the safety program. Especially businesses out there that don’t have a designated “health and safety” person. But it’s important to remember that even though the Juggler is out there keeping the safety program alive, and encouraging everyone to join in – especially when or if the pulse is fading, it is vital that businesses continue to acknowledge that everyone is responsible for maintaining a safe workplace and don’t rely on the juggler.