Mentoring of OHS personnel

Mentoring of OHS personnel – George’s Safety Reflections

Guest article by George Robotham from

Everybody says mentoring is a good idea, so recently I volunteered to take on the role of mentor for 3 developing OHS personnel. I had a look at what my mate, Mr. Google, had to say about mentoring and spoke to a few contacts.

The first step was to meet with those I am mentoring and develop a mentoring plan.

Mentoring Plan



The plan lasts for 12 months from 6/9/12, we will meet at George’s place monthly on Thursday, 10am, meetings will generally last about one hour with the exception of the initial one that may take longer. We will keep in contact via e-mail between meetings and if necessary by phone. The frequency of the meetings will be controlled by the mentee on an as needed basis.

Mentee objectives?

Mentee goals?

Mentee expectations?

Mentor objectives-The objectives are to assist the mentee in improving their level of OHS and OHS related competency in order to ensure they perform well in their current role and to prepare them for the next step forward in their career

Mentor goals- Mentees to receive a positive performance appraisal at work and, where applicable, progress to a more senior position

Mentor expectations-The mentor expects the mentee to take responsibility for their own learning, attempt homework where they see it of value and engage in a major project to cement their learning. It is suggested the mentee maintain a reflective journal



1 It is recommended the mentee maintain a reflective journal of their experiences in the mentoring process, the journal should reflect on what went well, what opportunities for improvement were identified and what they have learnt. Up to you put I find they help with learning. Also helps you prepare for performance appraisals with your boss, negotiations about a pay rise and revising your resume. Having a reflective journal was part of the requirements for my attaining Chartered Fellow membership of S.I.A. It also helps with writing uni. assignments and writing for professional journals.

2 You should give consideration to the development of a WOW project, a WOW project is one that is so effective everybody says WOW. Some major companies use these as a regular part of learning programs for managers. A well executed project will get you noticed where you work and look great on your resume.


So far we have discussed recommended reading on safety, I have given specific advice on their areas of interest, we are talking about developing a joint OHS paper, I am working on them having a meeting with my mentor, we will have a session where they will give a presentation for peer review and we are talking about them taking on a major safety project. From my perspective things are working out well, I hope this is also their perspective.

It will be an enjoyable challenge for me to consistently come up with material and approaches that help them learn. Other experienced OHS personnel are advised to give mentoring a try, the rewards are there if you work on it.

George Robotham

George Robotham

George was a Legend in the Safety World who passed away in Sept 2013 but left us with a great legacy
George Robotham
I have worked in OHS for most of my working life, many years in the mining industry including over 10 years in a corporate OHS role with BHP. Since leaving the mining industry I have worked in a variety of safety roles with a variety of employers, large & small, in a variety of industries. I was associated with my first workplace fatality at age 21, the girl involved was young, intelligent, vivacious and friendly. Such a waste! I was the first on the scene and tried to comfort her and tend to her injuries. She said to me “George, please do not let me die” We put her on the aerial ambulance to Rockhampton base hospital where she died the next day. I do not mind telling you that knocked me around for awhile. Since then I have helped my employers cope with the aftermath of 12 fatalities and 2 other life-altering events. The section "Why do Occupational Health & Safety" provides further detail but in summary, poor safety is simply very expensive and also has a massive humanitarian cost. My qualifications include a certificate I.V. in Workplace Training and Assessment, a Diploma in Frontline Management, a Diploma in Training & Assessment Systems, a Bachelor of Education (Adult & Workplace Education) , a Grad. Cert. in Management of Organisational Change and a Graduate Diploma in Occupational Hazard Management. I am currently studying towards a Masters in Business Leadership. Up until recently I had been a Chartered Fellow of the Safety Institute of Australia for 10 years and a member for about 30 years. My interest is in non-traditional methods of driving organisational change in OHS and I have what I believe is a healthy dis-respect for many common approaches to OHS Management and OHS Training. I hold what I believe is a well-founded perception that many of the things safety people and management do in safety are “displacement activities” (Displacement activities are things we do, things we put a lot of energy into, but which when we examine them closely there is no valid reason for doing them). My managerial and leadership roles in OHS have exposed me to a range of management techniques that are relevant to Business Improvement. In particular I am a strong supporter of continuous improvement and quality management approaches to business. I believe leadership is the often forgotten key to excellence in most aspects of life. I hold the Australian Defence Medal and am a J.P.(Qualified). I have many fond memories of my time playing Rugby Union when I was a young bloke.

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