Research reveals safety risk

Research reveals safety risk

Companies may be failing to achieve safety objectives because of a lack of safety experts involved in setting strategy.

New research has concluded safety professionals may be restricting themselves to roles which are technically-focused without pitching in when it comes to setting strategy.

Pam Pryor has 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 will present these findings at the upcoming Fluoro Conference being held in Perth on 10-11 November.