Being a safety professional is not easy.
It can be overwhelming, bewildering, counter-intuitive and bang-your-head-against-the-wall frustrating.
It can also be immensely meaningful and rewarding if you start to have a positive impact on your organisation and you have indication you contribute to avoiding potential disasters.

Before you get to that point, as a starting safety professional there is often a steep learning curve.
First there is technical knowledge about Safety Management Systems and its components.

Then there is the slow obtaining of confidence of management and staff in the system and yourself as a Safety Professional.

Technical knowledge can be learned in a classroom and books to some extent. Although there is a bewildering offer of information.

Developing the non-technical skills as a technical person is more challenging, it often is a trial-and-error process which can be the frustrating experience I described above. After a while you will start to have an impact but that can take a while!

Most new safety professionals are technical people who are caught by the Peter Principle: promoted to the level of incompetence.
Often they started as (very) competent technical people (pilots, engineers, quality, cabin crew, …) but they did not necessarily have the skill, knowledge and attitude needed to be effective as a safety professional.

That is not a permanent condition of course, competence can be developed.

Knowledge can be gained through training and study (to some extent).
Skills get developed through the day-to-day on the job training that comes with the territory and the painful lessons of when it goes wrong as a safety professional (unnessary/unconstructive confrontations with managers, ineffective investigations, communications that miss their mark…)

But it can be a long frustrating process, and your organisation in the mean time is counting on you to keep the Safety Management System going, so there is sometimes not the luxury of time to develop knowledge and skill organically

Also, the demands of the job shift.
Where before the emphasis was placed on designing, setting up and implementing the SMS, now the demanded skill set changed to become a more effective investigator, negotiator, faciltator, communicator and analyst. The range of skills to develop is broad and time consuming.

My goal with my Safety Coaching process is to help Safety Professionals become competent quicker.

  1. Combat overwhelm and create mental clarity by defining immediate goals of the safety professional and streamline the Safety Department workflow
  2. by developing an online video library that summarizes the modern relevant safety concepts in a digestible format.

Second by a personalised coaching process which prioritizes actions to take and skills to develop according to the current demands of the organisation.
Third by a deliberate practice regime which helps to deploy new knowledge and concepts in the real world to develop skills in a low risk setting.









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Jan Peeters Safety/Risk/Management Coach

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