New FREE EBook – Broader Management Skills For The OHS Professional

Broader Management Skills For The OHS Professional (And Other Professionals)

Well the first free 216 page EBook – “Guidance for the beginning OHS professional” – George Robotham” – was a huge success with over 13,500 copies sent out and still counting! Inspired by the positive feedback, George has just finished his latest book based on the fact that, to be successful, ALL Managers, not just OHS Professionals MUST HAVE a broad range of skills. It has been reviewed by a number of his peers and I think you will agree it is essential reading – I guarantee you will identify a number of opportunities for improvement in your existing skill set! 

 Download the book here


Please find a short extract of the book below  – you can see how awesome the rest of his work is here: George’s Reflections


I have been doing safety professional impressions for nearly 4 decades. I have been fortunate to have done this in a variety of industries, often in high performance environments in times of significant change. The majority of people I have worked with have been very dedicated and caring but there have been a few mongrels. No matter what your specialty is the most significant challenges will be the people ones. The people make or break an organisation.

In my time in safety I have helped my employers cope with the aftermath of 13 fatalities, 1 case of paraplegia, 1 serious burns case and a major stress episode. All of these had a devastating effect on the organisations involved but were easily prevented.

I am a long time critic of education for OHS people in Australia because I believe it has too much of a focus on technical OHS skills and not enough on the required broader skills.

I like the General George Patton quote “Lead me, follow me or get out of my way”

The following largely results from my critical reflection on my experience and learning, in a few areas it represents input from my network of associates, I thank them for that.

Quotable Quote

“A health & safety problem can be described by statistics but cannot be understood by statistics. It can only be understood by knowing and feeling the pain, anguish, and depression and shattered hopes of the victim and of wives, husbands, parents, children, grandparents and friends, and the hope, struggle and triumph of recovery and rehabilitation in a world often unsympathetic, ignorant, unfriendly and unsupportive, only those with close experience of life altering personal damage have this understanding”


One of the things that came to me a number of years ago was that the OHS person needs a number of non OHS skills as well as OHS technical skills to be effective. You have to resolve to be a life-long learner; often learning in fields allied to your major discipline will increase your effectiveness in your major discipline.

Be a sponge and soak up all the knowledge and experience you can. Never be scared to ask for advice and experience, never stop learning. Look beyond what others see and learn to understand the ‘why’ and ‘how’.

Finding yourself a mentor will be of real value and constantly discuss issues with your peers.

Deliberately ask for the hard jobs. Putting yourself out of your comfort zone is a great way to learn and do not be afraid to fail. Failure is a great way to learn.

Start your learning at the level you can handle. Simple principles can be easily learnt, you don’t need to be an academic.

The following attempts to explore the required non OHS technical skills.

Non OHS technical skills I maintain are necessary include-

1. Communications Skills

2. Interpersonal Skills

3. Management of Organisational Change

4. Leadership

5. Psychology and Sociology

6. Project Management

7. Quality Management

8. Teambuilding

9. Facilitating Meetings / Problem Solving Groups

10. Time management

11. Mentoring / Coaching

12. Strategy

13. Managing Committees

14. Recognising Displacement Activities

15. Marketing

16. Human Resource Management

17. Ethical High Performance Standards

18. Motivation

19. Being a Champion

20. Counselling

21. Commitment to Excellence

22. Empathy

23. Being a Chameleon

24. Relevant Industry Experience

25. Learning

26. Customer service

27. Presentation skills

28. Political awareness

29. Listening

30. Organisational skills

31. Personal experience of leadership

32. Managing yourself

33. Your life

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.

Do you have any thoughts? Please share them below