This is the 3rd question that was put towards the health and safety challenger panel at our HSE UK Congress in February.
Some of the key members from the panel include Duncan Spencer from IOSH and Lawrence Waterman of the British Safety Council. Both are part of our content ambassador network and help to provide the insight needed to deliver great content on the HSE Network.
HSE UK Health and Safety Challenger Panel
The health and safety challenger panel was set up for the event with the aim of putting some of the key concerns and questions about the industry towards a panel of individuals who come from the key governing bodies in health and safety.
The event was a great success and covered topics ranging from inclusion in health and safety to the need for academic rigor in the profession. Remember to take a look at the first question from the challenger panel which covered voices in the profession and the second which looked at recruitment in the industry.
[Interviewer] Thank you. It’s going back to Lawrence, your point earlier, because the question I was going to ask before you start talking about the involvement in terms of HR and policies was, as much as I appreciate all the talks about mental health, at least in, you know, the oil and gas sector where I come from, it’s okay to talk about mental health.
But as soon as you start saying, you know, we’ve had a bad downturn a few years ago in the oil and gas with all of our people. So, you have, you know, a massive increase in terms of workload. No one wants to talk about that, employing more people or changing, you know, people’s contract and all that stuff. So, in terms of, you know, governing bodies, what is your appetite to get more involved in terms of labor law because we know that, you know, security, stable job, permanent contract, all those things, you know, makes you better.
So, how do you want to get involved in terms of, obviously, labor law?
– [Duncan] I think, to pick on some of the points that my colleagues have been making already here, I think that we need to have a much louder voice around the human capital discussion that’s going on within boardrooms at the moment. There are some strong moves being made by people like the Dow’s Index in America and the equivalent in Australia around trying to involve investors in seeing human capital as a value rather than a cost within the businesses and finding new ways to be able to measure that value as a kick and as a start around the whole sustainability agenda.
It’s not just about hugging trees. It’s about how do we provide, you know, a sustainable economy, a sustainable business, a sustainable workforce that’s happy, contented, and has got good work for longer, and they’re healthier for longer. Now, that’s our space, isn’t it? We need to have much more of a voice in that area. And I think the environmental lobby has been dominating the area and we need to turn it back into that human capital discussion.
And we can all engage in that I’m sure.
– How do we do that?
– Well, I think boardrooms are certainly picking up on this and I think that would be corroborated by many people in this area. So, we need to get briefed on that. So, it’s up to bodies like mine to ensure that the right kind of information is there for you to read around and to pick up on. And that we’re starting to discuss that at these kinds of conferences and so on so that we can become better educated.
But boy, we better get a move on because those discussions are already taking place. So, we need to understand it and we need to start to engage with it.
– [Clive] We need to concentrate less on means and more on ends. I think our organizations and I’m talking about all of them are a bit arrogant and they think that in closed rooms, they can make decisions about their strategies and then go and pursue it, and then get slightly surprised that we don’t make much of a splash in the public domain. I mean, some of you may know that USDAW is now running a campaign, including parliamentary meetings, because the government is proposing to withdraw the right of legal aid for workers seeking compensation having been damaged at work.
Now, I don’t think that British Safety Council should run a campaign on that. I think our job is to say what USDAW, the shop worker’s union is arguing is correct and we’re going to support them. So, I think if we’re clearer about what we are trying to achieve, we can look across this huge political landscape, identify those that are already lobbying, moving, campaigning, arguing and offer to support them, to participate, to become partners, rather than thinking that if it’s not labeled IOSH or British Safety Council, or it doesn’t raise the profile of IIRSM, there’s something wrong with it.
We ought to be saying, what are we trying to achieve? And look for people who will join with us because they’ve got similar aspirations and then work with them, obviously, with an ethical check that we’re not partnering with you know, baby milk manufacturers or something. But as long as the other people are decent people to work with, we should be holding hands much more often than as a profession we’ve done historically I think.