5 things you need to do to excel in Health and Safety

In my previous post, I talked about an employee I had to fire recently. Get the full gist here. Getting fired never leaves a pretty feeling and that’s why I gave him a chance to show he could be competent and would abide by our policies. I really don’t like to fire people and have only had to do it twice. The first was a church member who asked for the job but quickly became a nightmare and tried to instigate others to break the rules and be like her but they knew better. She wasn’t happy having to answer to anyone plus she never signed in nor took simple instructions. She only lasted 1 month. I didn’t care whether she was a church member and if that would make me look like the devil.

The truth is these sackings could have been avoided if they had just done their jobs and loved their employer – me and the school 😉

Many young people want to be millionaires and be their own bosses but they fail to realise they need to start small or from somewhere. While you are small, you need to be dedicated and work hard to become what you aspire to be. You need to be open to learning and gaining all the skills you possibly can. The truth is, if you want to become something, you need to do all that is required to achieve it even if it means attending another certificated course, attending training or visiting google.

I have had a successful time as an employee and will most likely have a successful time if I ever choose to return to paid work. I put in so much. In all my past jobs, I got lots of praise even on my first job which I got fired from because I broke one small but important rule. So Professor Ike once got fired? Yeah (covering my face pretending to be ashamed lol). Want to hear the story? Suspense time. How on earth do you think I know the feeling you get when you’ve just being fired? Wait till you get to the end of this post and I will tell you 🙂

Apart from the usual attention to detail and the eyes of a spy, here are 5 additional things I did to get to succeed in my career. Even as an employer, I still do them. You should try doing the same.
5 things you need to do to excel in health and safety

1. I studied

Yes I am a sucker for studying. I might lament about how having a new qualification doesn’t make me better equipped than those with experience but getting certification in your choice career is important if you want to get that job. You can’t study music and expect to get a job in Health and Safety. Many employers want to see that you have taken the right step by getting the right certification even if it means they have to train you for a longggg time. Very few get into Safety without certification in Safety. After we graduated Uni, a close friend got a Trainee role in Safety. Yes no qualification in Safety but she studied really hard for the interview. She read up what she could about Health and Safety and she rocked at the interview. Whether you are going for a trainee role or not, have interest in the job and study the little you can and wow the interview team. Showing prospective employers that you have good enough knowledge about the role will increase your chances of getting the job.

Even as an employer I still study. How do you think I come up with new courses and training schedule for my learners and employees?


2. I did research

In my first Health and Safety role, we published a safety magazine every quarter and my team and I had to write articles and just make sure we had enough content for the magazine. I was new at the job and didn’t have much experience to just write stuff off the top of my head so I did lots of research. I thought alot.

It was important to know what the new trends were, the latest news and the latest hazardous material (asbestos seemed to be in vogue then). So I went online, read research journals, books and articles by top professionals and wrote articles out of my findings. My team and I always chose a theme to guide us. We used this knowledge and what was on HSE’s site to write a factsheet. I never imagined I was doing great but my team lead always had great praise for me. That made me feel at ease knowing I was doing the right thing.

3. I cared

Now this isn’t just about caring for people. You need to care about the company you work for. Don’t work there just because you need to earn a living. Plus you can’t fake caring about them – your boss isn’t a fool, they will see through you.

Care about the company by doing your job zealously. Come up with new ways to perform tasks and share it with your team. You might not like the rules but just get on with your job. You will be in their good books and you will enjoy your life as their employee. I have employees and I know the ones I can depend on and they are the first I call when I need support to get stuff done. They also enjoy little perks for example, going on outings to represent us, anchoring events etc. These little perks give them more knowledge and exposure.

Secondly, care about the customers and their happiness with your services. Don’t be in a hurry to complete that task. Do it well. If you don’t do your job well, you will not get better at it and you will eventually suck at it. And you will get fired once your boss finds a suitable replacement. Do you really want that?

4. I wasn’t satisfied

I hungered to know more. I wasn’t satisfied with where I was or what I knew or sometimes the way things were being done. For example, I would go to deliver training and my learners would lament about not being happy in their jobs, the risks they had to take because employers weren’t bothered to provide protective gears etc. I wasn’t happy. I felt I needed to do more. Seemed to me employers were just ticking boxes. The wellbeing of their employees wasn’t important.

I thought I could make a difference. So I started a PhD in Organisational Health and Wellbeing. Learnt so much in my first year, I was blown away. I was still unsatified. I am still unsatisfied. More need to be done for people in our communities.

Do you feel unsatisfied with the way things are done at work? Have you ever thought of doing what to can to change it? Start today.

How do I even know I am unsatisfied you may ask. You are if you love your job but don’t like some of the processes, you are uncomfortable, you fear you are undervalued, you look forward to the day you get sacked or find a new job, you miss your old job,…….. you get the gist?

You become satisfied when everything and everyone around you (especially your boss) is happy. You are satisfied when your employees rock at their job or immediately put that newly acquired skill to practise. You are satisfied when your new invention is what the boss endorses for use by the company. You are satisfied when everything works as they should.

The truth is this satisfaction is never permanent. Something new always comes up and you just find yourself getting involved with it or trying to change it.

5. I did what I had to do

Most importantly but saved for last – I volunteered. I did this for about 18months before I was finally offered a paid role.

Everytime I hear people lament about not being able to get experience to get into the profession of their choice. What they fail to realise is that sometimes you might have to work for free to get that first break. Yes for free. You can volunteer once or twice a week. That’s exactly what I did. I was doing my Master’s when I started volunteering. I agreed to go in once a week to help. Sometimes I would go in when I had spare time. Then one day 2 of the Safety Advisers got sacked and I was offered their job without an interview. I got a call asking if I wanted paid work with them. Hell yeah!

Disclaimer! Now don’t take this as me saying you are guaranteed a job if you decide to volunteer. It’s 50-50. I did it, not because I hoped to get a job, I did it to gain hands-on experience while I studied to help my CV and show I have some experience once I graduated and started looking for work.

Think from the end goal first. Don’t worry about money. Money will come. If you decide to volunteer, try to have an agreement that your transport and lunch be taken care of since you won’t be getting any wages from them. I had this same agreement and it worked perfectly. If they won’t pay your transport or feed you while you “slave away” then don’t bother with them. They stingy as hell!

Need to get that volunteering role right away? Look for a startup. They are usually short on cash and will appreciate your help and input. Do it well and with all your heart if you want to one day get employed.

Now unto that gist you waited this long for – my sack story 😉

The Professor Ike sack story

Health and safety career

Photo credit – whatculture.com

Yes back to the story of how I got fired from my first job. I worked as an in-store demonstrator at a big store/warehouse during my first year at Uni. One of the rules was never to use phones while on the shop floor. So one day, I got a call from my agency about the job I was interviewed for. I couldn’t miss that call so I hid and picked it. I was on the phone to them when our manager suddenly appeared in front of me. I froze. How on earth did this guy find me jeez?! Well, he just said you no longer work here. So I packed my stuff and headed home. Days later, I got a mail in the post inviting me for a meeting with him and the big bosses. Apparently, he couldn’t just fire me. Anyway I started the new job so I never went for the meeting. I never replied their letter too. I was vexed – they could have just warned me. Right? Maybe.

Lesson learnt? Never take the rules for granted. I could have returned the call from the new employer during my break but I was so tired of my current job and was a little desperate to leave lol so I didn’t use my brain. It was always so cold in the store and the journey to and fro work was a nightmare. I took the bus from Luton to Milton Keynes everyday. Most return trips were unfortunate. By the time I was done with work was the time most people were done, so the bus was always full and would just leave my friends and I in the freezing cold. We would have to wait 1 hour for the next bus nearly freezing to death 🙁 . I hated it so much! So in my heart of hearts I didn’t really care about the job but the truth is I did my job to the best of my ability and often made large sales on my products. So my boss knew sacking me was a mistake but I was long gone by the time he realised it. Yes everyone makes mistakes and good employers know to overlook it (if it isn’t that big a deal).

I shared this story so that those of you who got sacked due to your own fault can see that you are not the first and definitely won’t be the last. Learn from your mistakes and move on with the promise to yourself that never again will you get sacked because you are now a better person and employee.

Dear friend, stay true to your job no matter how crappy the pay is. When it’s time to move on, do it only after you have found a new job. Never leave certainty for uncertainty. Remember to give in your notice – employers hate it when an employee just permanently stops turning up to work.