Safety Team Building

Safety Teambuilding

By George Robotham – 

OHS people must have technical OHS skills. My experience is that broader skills such as leadership, communications, interpersonal and team building skills are also necessary. I have facilitated some interactive learning for OHS team members and believe such learning has significant benefit for both established and new teams.

Teams are small groups of people with complimentary skills who work together as a unit to achieve a common purpose for which they hold themselves collectively accountable.

Some of the features of a one day teambuilding workshop are-

Team members discuss-What they do, How they do it, What the challenges are, What they would like to do if they had the resources, What assistance they want from the team leader to help them perform at a high level.

Force field analysis (Similar to S.W.O.T) on the organisation safety management system.

Facilitator to discuss human needs and how the team can meet these needs.

Identify the characteristics of highly effective teams, group discussion and feedback.

Facilitator discussion of creating a high performance team.

Explore what is necessary to have a highly effective safety team in XYZ organisation-explore in groups & report back.

Discussion on the concept of each team member facilitating a WOW project.

Discussion on “Where to from here?”-What additional assistance is needed to participants in their journey to build a highly effective team.

Homework Participants will be encouraged to prepare a Personal Action Plan for making the safety team at XYZ organisation a highly effective team. This is to be sent to the facilitator within 2 weeks of the conclusion of this workshop.

After the workshop

Facilitator will collate responses to the personal action plans and prepare a draft action plan for discussion.

Facilitator to distribute a summary of workshop conclusions and recommendations to participants and management.

Participants to share team building plans with direct reports and get feedback.

Monthly discuss improved approach with team.

Monthly discuss with stakeholders progress on the WOW project.

Celebrate success of the WOW project.

Recognition of best WOW project.

Some of the resource material for discussion follows

The Change Navigator-K. Hanks


We want to live. There are physical needs such as food, air, water, the right temperature, health etc.

We want to love and be loved. Human beings are social beings needing a partner and friends who care and can be cared for.

We need a sense of belonging to someone and something, to be accepted into something more than ourselves, such as a relationship, an organisation or a belief.

We want a purpose in our lives, a sense we have a place in the greater order of things and our existence means something.

We want to become more. More than we are now. We want to grow and progress.

We want to feel important, respected for who and what we are. We want people to value us in some way. We desire impact on something and someone in making a difference.

We want to have variety. We want to have experiences in life, to interact with new people, ideas, things and situations

We want to be competent in the things we do. We seek for expression and the ability to do it well.

We want to be safe within our physical and social environment. We want to be secure in our person and in our place from both physical and emotional harm

Effective teams

Create clear roles & goals

Willing to try new ideas

Build mutual trust

Ensure mutual accountability and a common purpose

Establish clear rules for behaviour by the team

Creating high performing teams

Get the vision, scope and objectives right

Create expectations

Call a spade a spade

Get the right people

Require people to do their homework

Never move slowly on critical personal issues

Constantly upgrade skills

Build trust through appropriate self-disclosure

Consider “What’s in it for me” from the perspective of the other person

Create short-term wins

Celebrate success

Clearly defined roles

Have fun

Be a bit crazy when appropriate (calculated risk-taking is good!)

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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