OHS Customer Service

OHS Customer Service

by George Robotham from www.ohschange.com.au. See the rest of George’s Safety Reflections HERE

Many is OHS are really in customer service roles where our customers may be managers, supervisors, workers, unions, regulators and employer associations. Always treat the customer like a King or Queen-If you do not your competitors will.

As an OHS person the products you supply the customer with can include audits, training, accident investigation, problem solving, leading safety project teams, research, testing, risk assessments, provision of advice etc.

If you are an internal OHS consultant there will often be no charges for your services, it is suggested you should still adopt a mindset that you are able to prove value for your services. There have been many OHS corporate groups that have disappeared because their business unit customers regarded them as an overhead instead of adding value.

When one is in a field OHS position one gets involved in putting out bush fires and you may not have the chance to see the big picture. When one is in a Corporate OHS position one may get so immersed in the big picture that one loses contact with the everyday reality of how the organisation is managed. The effective customer service person must boundary ride through the 2 perspectives.

A key thing in customer service is to separate customer wants from customer needs, it is often necessary to help customers define their needs.

Another important thing is to tightly define the scope of assistance you will provide.

There will be times when you think some of your customers are just a pain in the rear end, you need to remember that without them you do not have a job.

Customer service tips

Like a lot of things in life the 7 P rule applies to customer service-Prior Preparation and Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance.

  • Say thank you to customers.
  • Give customers what’s In It for me from their perspective.
  • Give them an offer they cannot refuse.
  • Show the customer how the product will benefit them.
  • Understand customer service is your top priority
  • Give more than expected, better to under promise and over deliver; giving something of value for free is always a good idea
  • Make customers feel important and appreciated
  • Be a good listener
  • Know what your customer wants
  • Treat the customer with respect
  • Admit your mistakes and apologise when required
  • Give and receive regular feedback
  • If the customer wants something special try your best to deliver
  • Keep customers updated
  • Keep your promises
  • Ask your clients how you are going
  • Provide topical information
  • Learn about customer service
  • Give special service to regular customers
  • Return phone calls promptly
  • Extend your hours of operation
  • Reduce response / turnaround time
  • Take ownership of problems that come your way, never pass the buck


Adopting a customer service mentality can assist OHS personnel to improve service delivery and perceived credibility


p align=”justify”>George Robotham, Cert. IV T.A.E.,. Dip. Training & Assessment Systems, Diploma in Frontline Management, Bachelor of Education (Adult & Workplace Education), (Queensland University of Technology), Graduate Certificate in Management of Organisational Change, (Charles Sturt University), Graduate Diploma of Occupational Hazard Management), (Ballarat University), Accredited Workplace Health & Safety Officer (Queensland),Justice of the Peace (Queensland), Australian Defence Medal, Brisbane, Australia, fgrobotham@gmail.com, www.ohschange.com.au,07-38021516, 0421860574, My passion is the reduction of permanently life altering (Class 1 ) personal damage

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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