Some practical advice from the late George Robotham Is your Safety Net working?
There was a time when the S.I.A. OHS discussion forum was the main OHS networking forum. This had its strengths and weaknesses and proved unresponsive to member needs at times.
I see networking as an opportunity for me to learn from others. The opportunities for safety networking are huge at the moment and the following are the ones I participate in.
1 Linkedin -There are about 10 main Linkedin OHS forums, these are generally very good but of courses some silly things are said, people have barrows to push and they are used for commercial gain.
2 www.safetyrisk.com.au – Some very interesting papers crop up on this.
3 Mentoring – I have been mentoring small groups of OHS people for the last 18 months or so. I find I learn from that.
4 I subscribe to the hs-canada discussion forum. The Canadians take their safety seriously and do things a bit differently to Australia, there are opportunities to learn from this.
5 I am a member of an about 50 member private discussion forum. It tends to be hands on and has a fair bit of banter.
6 I write a fair bit about OHS in various forums, I love it when people disagree, an opportunity for me to learn. I would like to see other OHS people writing about their experiences.
7 Conferences-I am really turned off by major safety conferences these days. I am conscious however a lot of unstructured learning occurs over a beer or a coffee.
8 I take various opportunities to speak about OHS, great way to learn.
9 I look upon every consultancy job I do as an opportunity to learn and always define what went well and what opportunities for improvement were presented.
I am under no delusions that I am a polished writer and presenter. There are various opportunities for OHS networking that you are encouraged to follow up on. For me some of the most effective networking has been writing about OHS, all sorts of people pop out of the woodwork and engage in conversation.
With what I write I tell a simple storey, use easily understandable terminology, use simple English and throw in a bit of humour. You need to be conscious you often have a relatively unsophisticated audience.
Whilst academic papers have their place in OHS I believe there is a vast, largely untapped body of knowledge in the experiences of OHS personnel.
I would love to hear your story!