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How to become a Trusted Health & Safety Advisor

To be an effective Health & Safety professional in a workplace means you have to be ‘all things to all people.’

You can find yourself surrounded by people from all walks of life and backgrounds.

They will all have their particular attitude towards safety (some good but mainly bad experiences. Based on their knowledge of the subject. Their experiences in previous workplaces and with previous H&S professionals (positive and negative).

Depending upon the size and structure of the organisation, you will have different groups of people that you will need to interact with on a regular or irregular basis.

And for each of these groups you may need to adjust your approach, your mannerisms, your words used.

Whether you deal with management, HR team or the wider organisation staffing groups, it is crucial that there is an element of mutual trust in those relationships.

A definition of trust is ‘a firm belief in the reliability, truth, or ability of someone or something’.

As a Health & Safety professional employed to guide an organisation to improved H&S performance and culture, this definition is so very true. You need people to trust you if you truly want to influence and take your organisation in the right direction.

Being the ‘trusted advisor’ can, at times, be a tricky road to walk down.

Depending upon the business, the Directors and the staff there can be a lot of expectations placed on you, and quite often these expectations can be conflicting from the different groups of people.

Each department and set of people may have different ideas for their particular H&S. So communication is a key aspect in finding out this information.

Be authentic

Don’t try to be someone you’re not, just be consistent in your message.

Take time to really understand the organisation you are working in.

Spend time in different people in different functions and facilities to understand their purpose, goals, and challenges. Find out what is important to them. Find out what their needs are and why.

Make connections – find shared interests or things you have in common.

This sets a foundation to build your relationship on. Discuss how their goals are aligned with yours, especially when you need to influence a change.

Be transparent and truthful – your integrity is key.

Never fake your knowledge, they need to see you are competent. If you are not too sure about something – find out.

Demonstrate your competence – offer some suggestions

Organisations don’t want specialists that are too legally focused or talk in the riddles of their own technicality. It must be simple to use and understand. H&S professionals need to find ways of advising the organisation without constantly referring to the legislation. The ability to interpret legal requirements into understandable advice for the specific audience is perhaps the corner stone of building trust and achieving positive engagement. It’s got to be easy to understand and work through.

To be a trusted advisor, H&S professionals must display a wide range of behaviours and personal competencies that illustrate they are disciplined, professional and trustworthy, and act consistently with integrity.

I am always here to support you on your H&S journey, wherever you maybe at this present time. Contact me today on 07770 302504 or email joanne@chestnutassociates.co.uk