Having worked for a decade in HSEQ Function I came across number of youngsters and enthusiastic Teachers who thought they could teach safety.
Now its turning to be a nightmare.
What is written by OSHA, DuPont or HSE is too much for many developing countries to absorb.
Their climate, mass educational level, thinking patterns, mind-set and tools are different from many in the developing countries.
This gulf becomes more intricate when eastern workers are forced to conduct in the manner western workers generally conduct themselves.
Adding to the flare are many theory driven trainers.
They were good in public speaking so they thought after O levels they would take some foundation courses of Safety. Get IOSH, NEBOSH or OSHA Qualification by passing some online or Franchised Exam and then they would start training next generation in safety.
This is very alarming situation.
Yet another category is of those trainers who tried their luck as process engineers, maintenance men, quality inspectors, project managers but when they could not succeed in doing what they should have continued doing they wore the Hat of Safety Trainer.
This is very dangerous situation.
Safety is about saving lives of people. Its not about defining work at height starts at 6 feet or 5 feet.
One need brain, wits, experience, knowledge, confidence and above all compassion to be a safety trainer.
While planning training plan for next year and when I was sitting with my safety lieutenants today, I realized that we have planned in totality a 13 Days Training Plan out of 365 Days.
My boys looked worried and they thought the big boss may not be happy with only 13 days. I smiled and asked them if they knew how much would it take to ensure that these 13 Days Time of Training goes up to our conscience satisfaction. They started calculating for the time that we would require for quality preparation and ultimately the figure came to somewhere around 30.
This is what we all need to improve and learn.
Safety is not about playing with statistics or showing more /less numbers.
If we have to arrange 2 Hour Training we need to work for six or may be eight hours to ensure that it is quality training.
Forget about copy cats.
The information is so much on google, Froogle, Wikipedia or anywhere else that we generally don’t get to the right conclusions or answers. The result is that when trainer is training he looks unconvinced himself.
Theory is too much to absorb these days, may it be any field or discipline.
Its Practice that would make us a better comprehender of safety.
And we can only be good trainers if we understand the practical problems, real life limitations, difference in working conditions, Behaviour safety concerns and also workers mental level. This comes only with experience and not just with books or degrees.
We all have to wake up from the deepest slumbers of our lives and start realizing that safety cannot be and should not be taught by those who never managed safety. It takes time and toll to learn and understand the real essence of safety.
not only we should realize, but we should make efforts to make these safety trainers also realize.
Written by Captain Zahid Faqir (Retired)
DGM HSEQ in 560 MW Combined Cycle Power Plant in Karachi, Pakistan
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