Your greatest challenge as a Safety Professional

What is your greatest challenge as a Safety Professional?

I had asked a similar question on health challenges on my Disqus channel. So I thought why not find out from the Safety pros what their greatest pain is.

To get a true idea of what Safety professionals are facing, I asked this question recently on social media and was impressed with the responses. They have been complied into a list. No names have been mentioned to protect identity of the responders.

To keep it unbiased and free of my opinion, the responses have been written as they were received. No additions but spelling errors were corrected. Some of the sentences are a little confusing but I didn’t want to change it so I don’t end up giving it a new meaning. Happy reading!

Challenge 1

Management. As long as they don’t buy my idea, it’s a challenge.

Challenge 2

Convincing yourself to begin with that safety comes first even if it delays production, causes organisational conflict/politics etc.

Challenge 3

Some management look more on cost to kickback on safety. It could be challenging when you find yourself in such organization where the upper management is not proactive. ‬

Challenge 4

The major challenge to effective HSE MS is behavior of the workforce from top management to shop floor workers. So the most potent strategy is to implement behavioural safety, where it becomes a culture rather than a means to a goal. Behavioural safety strategy is a way to go. It will take time to achieve desired goal but it pays off over time.‬

Challenge 5

Serving as a safety officer in a private firm. ‬

Challenge 6

‪Safety is seen as a last resort which should be the other way round, Safety First. It’s a way of saying let things happen before we act. Though I think safety culture is improving gradually.

Here in Nigeria, it’s more of review of Health and Safety legislations and enforcement on the part of the government. When we get that out of the way, management of organizations will not have a choice but to comply.‬

Challenge 7

Aside not seeing the training relevant, I also believe training is pushed aside because most management seem to look at the financial cost of such training. They ignore the positive aspect of preventing and reducing incidents and accidents; In turn putting profit ahead of the safety and well-being of employees.

Challenge 8

Training and supervision is another challenge.

Challenge 9

Another challenge is our health and safety laws/the penalties

Challenge 10

Commitment from the part of management. Root cause analysis of most of the accidents/incidents goes back to no commitment to health and safety from management and poor safety culture. Employers/individuals need to know the ‬reasons for health and safety. (1)The MORAL reason (2) the LEGAL and (3) the financial implications.

Challenge 11

Management commitment. When the health and safety culture is not embedded throughout the entire management process. It makes it difficult to achieve safety targets/KPIs‬.

Challenge 12

My biggest challenge is safety compliance from the site operative. ‬

My take

Safety officer in a private firm a challenge? I asked him to elaborate on it but I am still waiting for his response. Will update once I get it.

I knew a lot of people were going to mention management as their biggest challenge. Non commitment from management as well as non-compliance from employees has been my experience in Nigeria. Management just don’t get it!

I have had people challenge me and tell me this isn’t the UK when they think I am becoming a bit of a drama queen but one thing I have learnt is to look at a situation, analyse it and identify what the worst outcome could be.

Your turn

Does any of this make sense to you? Did you identify with any of the challenges? Can you add any more challenges to this list? Then please leave a comment!


  • Temitope

    My greatest challenge is the attitude of HSE professionals as some of us are either not competent or not passionate of the profession and this affects our performance and commitment respectively.

    Another challenge we are having is the non-availability of regulations (Law) driving the practice as it is either client driven majorly or company driven (very minor)

    • Hmmm. This is a serious one. I think the incompetence and lack of passion on the part of HSE professionals is one of the problems we have in Nigeria largely due to lack of regulations and the cost of developing one’s self. Most people find it very costly and employers are not so keen on paying those heavy fees.

      What to do… What to do…