Creating a safe work environment for the future
After spending ten years as a flight instructor and commercial pilot, safety is part of Barbara’s DNA. Here she explains how her aviation experience helps in her latest role in the Material Handling Industry. Including why keeping an open mind is vital, and how change can be a golden opportunity to improve health and safety and create a safe work environment.
Q. You spent ten years in the aviation industry where safety is the number one priority. What benefit has that had to your current role, and how can safety become a top priority for all industries?
Barbara: The need to be aware of the risks and learn how to reduce and control those risks is critical in aviation. So safety has become an integral part of my professional life. I have applied and implemented those skills in my current role, working for an internationally operating company providing forklift trucks, warehouse equipment and supply chain solutions. Safety principles are valid to all industries. It’s a question of transforming those principles, so they are relevant to the industry you are in and enhancing those skills. In my case, these include quality and environmental management.
Critical to success in any efforts to reduce accidents and improve health and safety is developing a good safety culture. As in aviation, a rules-based approach to compliance and certification systems, for example, is required to maintain safety standards. But when you apply these standards globally, there needs to be some flexibility to maximise impact. Workers in Europe are more likely to question and challenge new health and safety protocols. Whereas, in Asia, employees are much more accepting of a prescriptive approach. As the pace of globalisation continues, we need to think of ways to anchor safety into an organisation’s NA more effectively. Being aware of different perceptions of safety is a vital aspect. Then it’s a question of getting everyone involved and on board with safety improvements. You have to keep an open mind and be flexible to reach people, particularly on a global scale.