09/28/2005

Make jargon history!

It's time for health and safety professionals to talk the language of business
to help improve the safety of their employers' workplaces.

At the British IOSH Public Services Group's National Safety Symposium at Keele
University in Staffordshire, health and safety professionals were told to put
their 'house in order' by developing communication skills in business and
financial terms and moving away from just talking about mere legislative
compliance.

Without this, many of the speakers at the event expressed concern that boards
could 'switch off' to health and safety professionals, potentially leading to
practitioners having a lessened impact in the workplace and leaving the
profession vulnerable to further public attacks.

The solution, according to Dr Tony Boyle, from Health and Safety Technology and
Management, was for practitioners to learn to communicate in simple language ­
which is something that IOSH's new Continuing Professional Development (CPD)
scheme will seek to address:

"We use far too much jargon. Who else says COSHH for chemicals and DSE for
display equipment? We need to move to some sort of financial basis for what we
are doing. We can't go on talking about COSHH, RIDDOR and not talk about
finance and the business case. If we are going to continue speaking in jargon,
boards are going to switch off."

IOSH, too, believes that it is time the profession started to talk about the
'business case' for health and safety decision-making, and realises training
that enables professionals to do this is necessary.

Robert King, director of training at Woodland Grange, argued that existing
courses for safety and health professionals did not give them the skills they
needed to sell their case in the boardroom:

"I believe as safety practitioners we are let down by some of the courses. They
are syllabi driven and that does not give the vocational requirements for the
job. Boards are very concerned about receiving cost effective solutions. It's
very easy to go in and say the company is in breach of Section 2 of the Health
and Safety at Work etc Act, but we should be telling them what the deficiencies
are and putting forward a number of solutions to them."

IOSH shares these concerns, but is confident that with mandatory CPD for most
members from November, health and safety practitioners will be proactively
developing the skills they need to allow them to have a real impact at board
level.

Further info


AplusA-online.de - Source: Institution of occupational safety and health