Behavioural health and safety

Health and safety professionals now need a broader skillset than the traditional disciplines of risk control and supervision, says Peter Vujanic

I am passionate about playing my part to keep our people healthy and safe from our activities on and around the electricity distribution network. It is equally important to keep the communities we serve safe too and ensure we safeguard the environment. The old native American proverb holds very true to my mind – we do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.

Over recent decades much has been done to improve systems and processes, which has resulted in a significant decline in harm to people and the environment. However, incidents can and do still occur. Root causes often boil down to people making the wrong choice at the wrong time. So a deeper understanding of how people tick, and what drives them to take the decisions they do, is now critical to take saftey, health and environement (SHE) performance to the next level.

This requirement means that the role of a SHE professional has now broadened out beyond the traditional areas (such as maintaining standards, controlling risks, training and supervision), to more modern areas such as psychological behaviour, creative and impactful communication and generating genuine involvement through effective engagement strategies.

My biggest current challenge is to help people move from doing the right thing because they feel obliged to, to people doing the right thing because they passionately want to. In order to get there, we need to communicate and engage with them in the right way, challenge their belief systems constructively, persuade them and then give them all the support they need to consistently behave in the new way. 


Peter Vujanic will speak at Utility Week's Health and Saftey conference in Birmingham on 6 Decmeber. Find out more about the event and book your place here.

Author: Peter Vujanic, head of safety, health and environment, UK Power Networks,
Channel: Operations & Assets

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