Work health and safety specialists pursue many typical objectives and abide by similar rules. Whether you are an entrepreneur, a PCBU, a Site Safety Officer, or part of my Occupational Safety Solutions group, we have certain topics we frequently deal with, as well as things we hardly ever discuss. It’s those underlying things that I want to focus on today.

Regretfully, my father died 3 weeks back, and beyond the grief and sorrow, his passing has me believing outside the boxes we usually reside in. He was an excellent man, and I would’ve liked him to have actually had more time to purchase my kids and myself, however that’s not how it played out. He had a long innings, and he batted with strategic songs, notable borders and even had a few “smacked out of the premises for six” moments. Death, and specifically his death, has got me believing about much deeper concerns.

We live in complex and extremely misleading times. In the midst of this, the problems being placed on employers are increasing, not only demanding more of our resources however also progressively demanding compliance to structures of believing we and our employees might not constantly agree with. We’re being forced off the well-worn courses, tracks and tracks we’re used to, and onto side-roads and goat routes and into unsure surface.

Do you as a hectic individual, as I do, battle with managing work, staff, household and good friends? Do you also find it hard at times to think beyond the apparent and the essentials?

The WHS role can be explained plainly, significantly or with street-level bluntness:

Specified clearly … work health and safety has to do with visualizing what can fail, Strategising to prevent it taking place, and helping keep people safe.

Specified more significantly … I can metaphorically discuss the snakes of disaster that are loose in a work environment. Many people range from snakes, but safety experts act in a different way. WHS needs us to anticipate the snake, keep it in view, know how to react, train others to do also, keep unnecessary snakes out, manage the snakes that are already within, and prepare for the ones that are birthed every day. It’s a big task!

Mentioned bluntly … work health and safety activities have to do with assisting business owners cover their arse, adhere to the law and keep their people safe.

These are the WHS parts that are obvious. Let’s talk about three topics that don’t get provided much time.

At a top level, we see standards, checks, balances and procedures. Below these top behaviours, guiding concepts are at work, with duty of care and due diligence leading the way. If we look even deeper, we see a prolonged range of aspects, inspirations, ideas and philosophies, of which, there are three I want to touch on:

1. Ethical awareness,
2. Wrestling with morality, and
3. Permitting and managing feeling,

Think of them as path guides to help you navigate when federal government, circumstances, or your individuals force you off the well-worn courses that you are used to.


If you have actually read this far, you almost definitely already have an operating ethical compass. Nevertheless, you may not have thought much about its application in the safety context. ‘Application’ is what ethics is about. Ethics is the application of morality in a given scenario. To put it simply, morality is a system that tells us what is right and wrong, and ethics is the application of those rights and wrongs in a provided scenario. It can be fairly argued that ethics change with time, but morality is constant.

Where does this fit in the WHS context? Ethics is like a trail guide that informs you to pick up the rate, decrease, or step thoroughly. The virtue or morality remains in reaching the location; ethics is exercised in arriving properly.

For instance, while most workers believe it is right to talk about unsafe scenarios (morality), however not all do (ethics). A lot of also understand it is right for them to correct a manager who is directing them to do something hazardous (morality), but lots of would not follow through on this conviction (ethics). There is frequently a gap in between morality and ethics and I have a strong suspicion that gap was narrower in my father’s day.

The take-away: do not assume that morality suffices, or that the ethical behaviour seen in one work domain will also be evidenced in another. Reliable work health and safety isn’t practically what is right; it’s also about developing a workspace where ethical behaviour is the norm. A few of the tips that follow will help.


We’ve already explained that morality is the art of knowing the distinction in between incorrect and ideal, even when the best thing is less useful. Different employees have differing concepts of right and wrong. Nowadays, we likewise encounter numerous who believe the only ideal that matters is ‘their. It’s the moral equivalent of having ‘a personal reality’ – and in an office safety situation, that is a catastrophe waiting to occur.

Our workers may disagree on how ideal and wrong is chosen, but employees require to come together when it comes to work health and safety. It’s alright for an employee to understand that their opinions and their morality have value, but when it comes to safety decisions, in all but the most extraordinary of cases, the ethical thing to do is what the legislation states to do.

What if a manager, a fellow employee or government authority acts, needs or manoeuvres in an immoral way? Plainly, there are times when what is legal is also immoral; for instance, both previously and throughout World War 2 the Nazi SS rounded up Jewish, Homosexual and polish people for damage. They did this within the law. In fact, it could be argued they were compelled by it. However was it moral?

These days, I am mindful that individual morality varies exceptionally from individual to person – possibly more than ever before. That brings an obstacle to my workplace due to the fact that I need to battle with the implications of a morally uncertain truth.

Morality offers none of us a free pass, and I reckon my Dad’s generation understood that better than we do.

When it comes to emotions, there are two groups (or extremes) that tend to dominate. One emotional group is passive, while the other is proactive or reactive. The first group, the passive emotions, tend to include worry or unpredictability. These emotions trigger hesitancy and nervousness, leading workers to not speak when they should. The second group is marked by emotions like greed, over-confidence, conceit and anger. These emotions obstruct of efficient communication, shut down open discussion and increase the possibility of mistakes and dangers happening.

What are we to do? The office requires all types of characters, so all these emotions will make a look. We require to discover a method to handle emotional extremes.

My father’s generation was big on personal obligation and just “getting shit done”. My generation was more interested in self-confidence and understanding ourselves within a team-oriented context. Today’s young individuals appear to think the world revolves around their desires, their needs, and their truth.

Possibly there’s a winning balance to be discovered in between, and I reckon honesty is an excellent location to start. For example, a group leader can show the way by prefacing his comments to motivate emotional awareness and self-management. :

” I feel a little anxious raising this, however I’m going to …”
” Wait! Offer me a minute. I’m too f ‘n mad and I’m gon na say something we’ll both regret.”
” I do not mind if you do ‘you’ at house. When we’re here, we do ‘us’!

Whatever the specifics of your work health and safety function, knowing these three underpinning problems will absolutely help your results. It appears to me that there is little to lose and much to get. Ethical awareness, the determination to wrestle with morality, and emotional responsiveness are all areas of investment, not expenditure.

As we close, you might have kept in mind that I haven’t even mentioned a product – and I’m not going to. Today, my product silence is my way of strolling the talk. What I have actually shared with you is so fundamental it is worthy of an undistracted focus.