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#1 Posted : 10 May 2001 20:22:00(UTC)
Rank: Guest

Posted By Alan Campbell
It is as a last resort that I turn to my H&S colleagues for advice on a dilemma that I cannot resolve. I have been with my employer for 5 years and on taking up my present post 15 months ago it was apparent that the SMS was in a poor condition, mainly due to the workload on my predecessor as the establishment had doubled in size and increased staff to 4500. The obvious solution was to undertake and submit an ISR to the MD with an action plan which I duly did. The main issues were lack of direction in H&S and inadequate communications between the 15 sub-organisations on site, the largest of which had 650 employees. Having established a manager in each organisation with direct responsibility for H&S steady progress was made culminating in a well-deserved, satisfactory audit report from our Group H&S team, which praised my efforts.

What's the problem I hear you ask? Well, having recognised that my predecessor's advice had been ignored; I adopted a more direct line in those areas where my inititial "hearts and minds" approach failed. And here lies my dilemma, I had advised my line manager, who is deputy MD, that my efforts would be unpopular, which proved the case in 15% of areas resulting in complaints, of which I was not privy to their source, being made against my modus operandi. On reflection my professional integrity would not have allowed me to do things differently. In consequence my apraisal report, though regonising my efforts, commented on my direct, autocratic approach with senior managers, also that I needed to be more of a team player? comments alien to reports from previous employers. Having worked an additional 3-months unpaid overtime to re-establish the SMS whilst undertaking additional duties as Hearing Conservation and dep Environmental Protection Officer, I cannot remain with an employer where my efforts are not valued and have reluctantly decided to leave. As a MIOSH and holder of NEBOSH Diploma finding a job would not normally pose a problem, however, my line manager is my referee and who would want to employ an autocratic H&S manager who is not a team player? Having briefly contemplated constructive dismissal and ruled it out, I feel stuck between a rock and a hard place - help!
#2 Posted : 11 May 2001 12:41:00(UTC)
Rank: Guest

Posted By Jim Walker

I'm also job hunting as I sick of being taken for granted. I too am not exactly popular with my senior management - but for different reasons. I discussed this issue with my wife (and best friend), she said "you prat they will give you a glowing reference, just to get shot of you". Does anyone really take refs seriously ? Why not find out, you've nothing to loose. I once heard a story about a reference that simply said " you will be lucky to get this man to work for you".
#3 Posted : 17 May 2001 22:01:00(UTC)
Rank: Guest

Posted By Rachelle Smith
Its not clear if you have actually resigned yet. Your problem is one that most of us (ie with spine) face daily. Are you to be the shy safety person who sits on the fence and says nothing because of the mortgage and children, well quite frankly if you were that kind of a person you would be useless in trying to implement a SMS.
Hurds of us face this dilemma and feel tempted to resign on a point of principal. I truly believe and have experience of dedicated employers who are keen to listen to us and not slam the door in your face. Surely most of the petro-chemical companies, car mfr's, general mfr'ing and transport would welcome people like us. We are not wimps that back down to a dinosaur manager who thinks we are stopping production. Stick with a slightly watered down version of the truth I think. Tell them that you were being held back and hands tied, thats the truth, as you told it. On this basis I would if I took managing risks/the pending criminal law changes and the newly emerging Woolf reforms into account recruit someone with conviction and believed in the cause as passionately as you do. Pick yourself up and get out there dude, you will win!!
#4 Posted : 20 May 2001 10:54:00(UTC)
Rank: Guest

Posted By Dawn Ingham
Very hard nosed approach Rachelle, you've obviously had a lot to put up with, and coped.
Jim, if you love your job and would actually like to stay, might I suggest the following.
In my role as Personnel Officer/Health and Safety Adviser, I would suggest that you throw down the gauntlet, verbally or via e-mail/memo.
Make everyone aware, from management down, that you are aware of the upheaval your approach has caused (to a company which previously had no well-structured SMS) and ask them for their views on achieving and improving upon the list of regulatory and company goals (you need to provide your own specific list).
Ask everyone for their ideas on how compliance might be better achieved - and publish the results for all to see!
It's not clear what your organisation does, but would it be feasible to throw them the carrot that if the company were to win just ONE contract on the back of a superb SMS only, all the work would have been worth it?
It might just work!
I've tried this slightly softer approach and it worked for me - you have to get people on your side first to win an argument fairly.
Good luck.
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