Who wants to read a blog about Health and safety?Westminster Compliance | 28/02/2017
Health and safety only seems to grab an audience when disaster strikes. Westminster Compliance is actually in the disaster prevention business which means that if we’ve done our job properly, nothing happens. And who can write about nothing?
The most difficult aspect of our work is changing people’s habits. People hate change. Which got me thinking – what has successfully persuaded me to change a bad habit? I gave up smoking so often that I gave up giving up. Then, about 20 years ago, I read an article by an eminent doctor who said that anyone wanting to do one thing to increase their lifespan should give up smoking. This very simple stark message really hit home and I haven’t smoked since. The message was in fact so strong that I didn’t even have any significant craving for nicotine – his words were more powerful than my addiction. No other advice has had a similar effect since then…..until last month. I caught a news item which said that every item of plastic which has ever been manufactured still exists! I was horrified! I resolved there and then to remove plastic from my life. I’m now a woman on a mission.
Shopping is a nightmare! I’ve knitted (yes really) some small string bags which I use for fruit and veg at the supermarket instead of those plastic ones they provide. I re-use plastic bottles for smoothies (not too often though as the plastic deteriorates and can affect the contents) and I’ve even bought bamboo toothbrushes instead of the usual plastic. (Fortunately Shiraz comes in lovely recyclable glass.)
But what on earth am I going to do about washing up liquid, washing detergents, cheese/meat/fish packaging? I’ve written to supermarket bosses expressing my concerns; I’ve drummed the “no more plastic” message into my children.
And I’ve discovered some iniquitous practices among plastic packaging suppliers: they print recognisable recycling symbols on the carton/wrapping etc and next to this, in very small letters, you will see the words “not currently recyclable”. Obviously this is an attempt to persuade consumers that they’re working frantically to find a way to make their packaging recyclable and that this will only be a matter of time, but I don’t believe a word of it.
I think this mission will be unending but unlike my nicotine addiction I’m not giving up. So how, I hear you say, does all this relate to health and safety? Well it has made me realise that the power of a strong simple message can change a person’s behaviour. I see enough dangerous working habits and have put up with enough cheap shots about my chosen career to realise that I have a long way to go before I can get people’s buy-in to health and safety. I’m just having to work on a persuasive message that will have the same effect on you as the doctor and the news editor had on me. So watch this space!
Westminster Compliance was established to provide a more personal, proactive health and safety consultancy that would keep businesses working and compliant with ever-changing legislation.
Our presentations and training are interesting and fun because we want our clients to buy into health and safety, and definitely not to see it as a boring, unnecessary nuisance. We know that our best service is provided to small and medium sized organisations and have developed a system that works in most industries.
We stick with straightforward language, keeping away from jargon, and do not make ridiculous promises. Most importantly, we realise that we are working with human beings.