health and safety representative consultation

Pitfalls around HSR Training

In my travels, so often do I hear that Work Health and Safety is a difficult topic to present in an engaging way. Even some of the training that I went through, the trainer started his session by saying things like:

• “Look guys, this topic is a bit dry and boring so bear with me. We have to get through it.”
• “Thank you for coming everyone, I know most of you understand that safety is not the most exciting topic so let’s get it over and done with quickly.”
• “Hello everyone, I know you all got told to attend this one so let’s stay focused and we may get out of here a bit earlier.”

Are these trainers for real? Would you like to have that trainer stand in front of your teams? Are these trainers really passionate about safety?
I don’t think so.

Hey… this is the 21st century. There is NO room for trainers with dinosaur attitudes like that! So why is it that safety training is still often perceived in such a negative way? Historically, safety has been an area of potential conflict. It has been an area where some people were more concerned about wielding their powers and egos rather than being truly concerned with the well-being of all workers and the business. Safety has also been misused as a tool to achieve non safety related goals.
And… in a way the early OHS Acts written in the 1980’s seemed to be written with the expectation of conflict.
Times have changed.
Safety is an exciting field to work in. But just like any other area within a business it has it’s ups and downs but consider this: How exciting is it when you see your incident rates go down in the knowledge that you have had a very strong input into that result. In addition, reduced business disruption, increased worker morale and business reputation helps the bottom line significantly.
Now is that boring or dry? I am sure you get my drift. So how do you avoid having trainers with dinosaur attitudes instructing your teams? Read on…..

Pitfall # 1 around HSR Training

HSR meeting

HSR Training is Boring
Heard that one before? Yes…. many times. Sure, it is not for everyone to sit through 5 days of legal talk but should it really be boring? No, it should not.
OHS/WHS training is no different than any other area of training within a business. What it requires is not good, but EXCELLENT trainers to facilitate the course. Trainers who have got the relevant industry experience and who have plenty of real life stories to tell. Combine this with a variety of training delivery methods and HSR training will be an exciting and rewarding experience.
So before you choose a trainer, check out their industry experience and ask for references. Talk to the trainer and ensure they sound enthusiastic about the HSR role and the course material.

Pitfall # 2 around HSR Training

hsr goals

HSR Training is Conflictual
Yes, it can be. With the WRONG TRAINER that is. Excellent trainers understand that, apart from the primary goal to keep workers safe, GOOD SAFETY IS GOOD FOR BUSINESS and will present this training from that approach.
Good safety leads to a reduction of incidents (good for workers) and in turn this leads to reduced business interruption and cost (good for everybody). At the same time, any organisation will then be on a path to legal compliance. This will protect any business and their duty holders. There is no room for conflict or egos in safety. It is all about a group of intelligent people having a discussion regarding what the best way forward is. So interview your prospective trainer and get a feel for his/her attitude to safety.

Pitfall # 3 around HSR Training

health and safety representative consultation

Wrong Expectations Regarding the Role of the HSR
Yes, HSRs have powers to issue provisional improvement notices and to direct certain work to cease. They have a direct line into the OHS/WHS Regulator in your State. Well trained HSRs understand that these are last resort powers. These powers are directed at people who could not care less about their
people or the business they work for.
Surely, you do not want any of such people to work for you. Well trained HSRs and smart managers understand that Quality – Efficiency – Safety go hand in hand and that you would not do one without the other. They also understand that businesses are NOT DEMOCRACIES and that finding solutions are the
result of sensible consultation between stakeholders. To get this message across effectively you require not good, but EXCELLENT trainers.
So, what is the message here? Safety training is a too important issue to let chance dictate who your trainers are going to be. Be very selective indeed as to who will instruct your staff. So test the trainer’s knowledge about the true role of the HSR and how he/she believes your organization can support them making sure that the way in which they exercise their functions is indeed beneficial to all.

Done Right, Training is Rocket Fuel For Your Business

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