President's Blog 30/09/20

By NZISM Secretary


Kia ora koutou to all members and supporters of NZISM. I have been fortunate enough over the course of my career to audit a number of companies and recently I was back at one where, over the course of two years, they have achieved what can only be described as transformational change.

Notifiable events, improvement notices, and a struggling health and safety culture dogged this company, and it wasn’t until they employed a health and safety professional with qualifications and experience a couple of years ago that things turned around. Naturally I was interested in how the changes had been made. One tries not to interrogate, but it’s not something we see everyday. And after two days of auditing there were a couple of areas that stood out.

1. The right person has to be in the role

Choosing a professional with a good fit for the company seems logical, and finding the right person can be a challenge. However, spending the time and energy to get the right person, especially in this case was clearly worthwhile. I observed several key aspects; that they had authority and power within the organisation, they followed the ‘Management by Walking Around” methodology, despite having over 20 sites across New Zealand, and they were an enabler, focusing on upskilling and supporting supervisors and managers. It wasn’t just provision of training, it concluded with the expectation of implementation and tracking of data to confirm it was happening. Which leads me to my next point:

2. Having systems in place that supported informed decision making

One thing that struck me as unusual from other companies was the quantity of useful data that was available at all levels of the organisation to track and monitor the effectiveness of their systems. From staff, supervisors to senior leaders, real time dashboards captured a range of indicators that could be drilled down providing solid data which was then used in decision making. Furthermore, there was solid alignment between what they were hoping to achieve in their strategy to what was being measured.

We’ve always known that having the right person in the role is essential, it’s the linking with measurable indicators on a real-time basis that provides an insight on how we can support organisations to transform and develop their health and safety maturity.

Certainly food for thought.

Ngā mihi mahana

Robyn Bennett


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