Can you be your own Safety Officer?

This is a question I often ask my teachers – Can you be your own teacher? If you were in your pupil’s shoes, would you be happy to have a teacher like you? Are you fun? Are you innovative? Do you go the extra mile to make sure your class is enjoyable? You know stuff like that.

It is the same question I am asking you today. Whatever your profession is – can you confidently say you can be your own …..[fill in the blank with your profession]. I write mainly about Health and Safety so it is only natural for me to choose Safety Officer.

Dear Safety Professional, would you employ you? What values do you think a Safety Officer should possess? Recently, I wrote briefly about what our job requires but that is not what I am on about today. Take 5 and write down what you expect from a good Safety Officer. Now look at that list. Does any of that look like you? Do you just tick boxes to get your boss off your back or do you take your time to do your work and do it well?

No one can be perfect at their job but everyone should have values that they hold dear and are always reflected in everything they do whether it annoys your colleague, employee or customer. Now I am not going to bore you with the usual stuff like communication, attention to detail etc but rather I will tell you what I think you should be doing to help you stand out and become a better Safety Professional.

Qualities of a safety officer

Here are 5 Qualities of a Safety Officer.

1. Act like the boss

Yes. In your mind, convince yourself you own the company. Only someone who owns a company will genuinely love it and put in their best. Forget about the big boss who you think is enjoying all the profits and paying you peanuts. Half the time, they work just to be able to pay you (true word). See yourself as the big boss. See yourself as the owner whose company must never fail.

The boss will do everything within his power to see his company succeed, you should tow this line. I am not saying kill yourself for your company, all I am trying to point out is that you need to remove yourself from the equation and work like your life depends on it. Do your absolute best. Your boss will notice and believe me one day you will be rewarded either by your boss or nature (what goes around comes around).

2. Radiate positivity

I love positivity so I love to create a positive energy and atmosphere around me and my work. I am mostly the boss so naturally, employees especially the new ones tend to be really careful around me. I have what I call “fire” when I’m not pleased. To avoid this, I make it clear what is expected. I offer support. I chat to staff as I walk past their classrooms. I stop to watch them work and give them kudos for outstanding performance. I also give them some sort of control over their job but with regular monitoring as people can become complacent when they feel no one is watching or when they think there might be no repercussions for failing in their duty. I let them know they can come to me with problems and most of the time they do sometimes a little too much but I prefer they speak up than die away in silence.

3. Be like Marmite. They either love you or they hate you. Whichever it is, don’t give a ****

In life, not everyone is going to love or accept it. Same goes for work. Not everyone will like that you are the saint neither will they love you if you are the one that makes the team look bad. If they love you, let it be because you are pleasant and easy to work with. If they hate you, let it be because you are too holy to work with. You do not tolerate lies, forgery and the likes.

In previous roles, my managers always loved me but some of my colleagues pretended to love me because they really had no choice. I remember one tried to turn my manager against me but boss lady was already my friend and it didn’t work lol. This frenemy was atheist and I was and still am a Christian so naturally we had major differences since Bless you, Jesus, and related words/phrases frequently naturally fell out of my mouth. She would ask “Blessed by what?” to intentionally cause an argument. Why couldn’t she just respect my belief in God the same way I respected her non-belief? At the same time, I had colleagues who loved me to bits and we frequently hung out after work and at weekends. Many of my closest friends today are people I met at work.

4. You work and actions should scream value

I had integrity and I always did my work. We (the staff) managed some caseloads and had quarterly reviews on them. You either got amber, yellow or green – green for outstanding and 100% of the time, I got a green! My record keeping was always up to date. My files were neatly arranged and sorted into categories. Anyone would pick it up and just go with the flow. So why wouldn’t I be loved and hated at the same time? My manager depended on me to get stuff done. A few times I would forget because I had much to do but she never reprimanded me for it as I would apologise and quickly get it sorted out.

Fast forward to today. I ask for a simple report from an employee (something I requested to be done weeks before) and all I get is “the workload is too much” with no promise of getting it done or when to expect it. They simply want me to just forget it. I then have to give them a new deadline. Don’t be like them. Be like me 😉

5. Make others want you. Make your boss fear losing you

Yes make yourself poachable. Let managers wrestle one another to have you on their team. Make your manager love you so much that he/she never wants to lose you. Let your resignation letter be their worst nightmare come true. I had a staff like this once. She was too good. All the parents loved her. One day she resigned because she didn’t get on with her supervisor. I rejected the letter lol and told her she would now report to just me – just because I didn’t want to lose her. Wasn’t really a good move as it made her supervisor feel bad but I just had to do what I had to do plus I had to caution to the supervisor to take it easy on the staff. Supervisor was too trigger happy.

She did eventually leave to do a post graduate course about 6 months later and guess what? She couldn’t bring herself to hand in her resignation letter. She gave it to security. She had valid reasons so I let her go. Guess what? She’s back but on a part-time basis. She is that good.

Have you got anything else to add to this list? Then please leave a comment.

#BeHSEWise