Category Archives: Kim Flanagan

The lost science of risk and safety

file5011249338919I embarked on my career in Health, Safety and Environment 30 years ago when it was just safety, no environment. It was a back water of the Human Resources Department tucked in behind Medical Services. There was no undergraduate degree in safety and I had to study the pure sciences and the social sciences. Environmental management was just emerging from the primeval swamp, ergonomics and occupational hygiene were these weird esoteric sciences that had little place in … Continue Reading ››

Good Leaders or Good Followers

file0001711615790Not a day goes past without me being reminded about the traits of good leaders. We are bombarded by photos and quotes of so called good leaders on social media. Human Resource Departments thrive on leadership and aspirational programs. But we all can’t be leaders, there has to be a disproportionate number of good followers. If we didn’t have this discrepancy the corporate, industrial and political world would cave in under the strain of everyone wanting to … Continue Reading ››

Overcoming Cowered Dog Syndrome

file0001874622666We have all heard the old adage "spare the rod and spoil the child". Well here is a new one: "use the rod and cower the dog". You do not train or teach a dog new tricks by punishment, you do it with loads of affection and reward. Fear of punishment cowers a dog in the same way as fear of punishment creates covert OHS culture. A dog is reacting to a negative action from its owner … Continue Reading ››

Iron fist in velvet glove

file0001768912771Many companies and consultants selling Occupational Health and Safety systems and culture believe in what they call "the iron fist in the velvet glove" approach to safety. The "iron fist" is based on the premise of four strikes and you're out. Four safety indiscretions and the punishment is dismissal. After the first offence a commitment is gained from the employee not to digress again in the future. Catch the person again and a written warning is issued. … Continue Reading ››