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Blogging and Safety - Why Bother? Can I/We Make a Difference??

by Carl Starling CMIOSH

My First Blog – What......And More Importantly, Why!!

If you’re anything like me, when I thought about blogging previously I thought;

  1. Where to start? (I don’t know) 
  2. What to write? (I don’t know)
  3. What is a blog? (I don’t know), although I do know my daughters would laugh at that statement!!

The game changer was 2nd October 2019. The event was The RoSPA Excellence Forum. The venue was The National Space Centre, Leicester. The speaker was Laura Aucott from The HSE Recruitment.

When I arrived, I was hoping to pick up a few tips on our business’s RoSPA Achievement Award submission for 2020. I certainly wasn’t expecting to hear from any other external speakers, let alone one that would have such an impact on me. Laura was there to talk about personal branding, what it is, why it is important, how it could help me and how it could help the safety community overall. I was intrigued.

Personal Branding and Safety Branding. What even is that and why is it important!?! I knew how much we talk about our business’s Brand, the importance of that and keeping the Brand positive, but I’d never applied that to me or to Safety. Laura started by explaining the benefits of both of these things. Included in her talk were things I thought could benefit me, but there was also the chance to really increase the exposure of the general public to the safety world too, which I think, or at least hope, all safety professionals would see as positive.

Personal Branding.

Laura talked about how I could use personal branding to become the face of my organisation so that people inside and outside of my business know who I am and what I do, and that when somebody talks about safety and HomeServe, they think of me. As a result, after the event I made a few immediate, and very simple, moves to start improving my Personal Branding. I needed to make things happen. Nobody was going to do it for me. I made contact with two great examples of safety professionals who Brand themselves well and began to utilise LinkedIn with updates and increase my Network. I also made contact with an old school colleague who wanted somebody to talk to Year 10 and 11 students about different career paths. This is something I would never have done previously! But you know what, nothing I have done has been rocket science - I’ve just been using Laura’s tips and investing a little time and effort. As you can see, the LinkedIn results have been amazing, as has the support from those I have reached out to in the past week.

Safety Branding

I think I’m right in saying that too many people still see safety negatively. The age old adages – creating unnecessary paperwork, making the job harder, telling people to put on their safety shoes are a few of the comments I’m sure us safety professionals have all heard time and time again.

I really want to help change this mindset. Having a bigger presence WILL do that. Having others see the bigger picture of what we (safety professionals) do will, hopefully, little by little, start to change this common perception. If I can change one person’s mindset, snowballs only get bigger, or in our world, we can cause a chemical chain reaction. Hopefully others will be inspired by my story and the snowballs will get bigger and bigger.

We have a similar situation at work having started a near miss reporting initiative two years ago. The process started slowly, but little by little, I can now say that two years later, the reporting culture is superb. Yes, we still get regular cynics who report nonsense near misses, but I still see a shred of victory here. Two years ago, they wouldn’t have reported anything, but they are now talking, or at least thinking, about safety. It is this talking about it that allows us safety professionals to advise, and to take real action to help protect them.

My conclusion

For those who are thinking about trying to improve their brand, start to make those small changes.  What is the worst that can happen?? You can write a blog like this that nobody reads and nobody changes, but what if you can change the mindset of juts one other person? The snowball will get bigger quicker.

So am I now a Blogger?? Will this makes my children proud of me?? Will they now hold me in the same esteem as their YouTube heroes?? Let’s be honest, probably not right now – but who knows in the future! I am committing to continue to do small blog pieces on my thoughts and things that are happening in the safety world and would love to see more people do the same. I hope you have enjoyed my first attempt!

Carl Starling CMIOSH

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