Safety observation: Friend or Foe: A safety observation is a non-confrontational discussion on health and safety based on or around a task that is being observed and the behaviours that are taking place safe or unsafe.

The observer need some training on how to undertake safety observations, and will go through any number of key steps, dependant on the situation and familiarity to the person or even team be observed, so let’s not rule out that an observation can be conducted as a group discussion.

Fundamentally the observer will be looking to praise the safe behaviours and engage in two communication by discussing the unsafe behaviours and gaining comment to some form of action, sounds easy when you read it, but it takes practice and focus, and you will achieve a natural discussion.

A key mistake that observers make is to think they have to be an expert in every task they observe. WRONG! You only need to know when a person is feeding you a load of ****. The onus is on the person doing the task to explain what they are doing safe or otherwise.

Step 1: Ask

  • Can we talk about…?
  • Why are you doing…?
  • Can I share concerns?

Safety Observation Step 1

Step 2: Get Commitment

  • To work together
  • To work safely.

Safety Observation Step 2

Step 3: Follow up

  • Make sure they’re working safely
  • Don’t give up!
  • Offer positive feedback.

Safety Observation Step 3

In my opinion Safety Observations should be recorded anonymous and analysed. Start Developing, Communicate and Train on the safe behaviours you want to see adopted, Get the marketing people involved in communicating safe behaviours.

An absolute MUST DO by the leadership team is understand the safety observation results, the quantity and quality of the observations and feed them back with what actions are being taken.