Entering a gym you’re confronted with an image of people using exercise equipment, yet on each side (within metres) are workers using ladders to access the gym’s roof-space. You notice instantly that this picture, two separate pictures actually, are diametrically opposed in purpose, yet they co-exist. It’s a picture that doesn’t fit. It looks awkward and confused. Yet, it’s not a picture that others share; others don’t see what you’re seeing, and that is the potential for working processes (and the workers) to impact upon those exercising, and vice versa. It’s a recipe for a safety incident.
I’ve long felt that the safety practitioner in a workplace is a sort of prophet; seeing things—possible outcomes and consequences—before they happen. And the ‘prophetic ministry’ of the safety practitioner is laden with unbelief as those in his or her midst (including workplace leaders) remain to be convinced of the truth behind the forth-telling.
And it’s not only safety practitioners that are called to this role of visionary. It’s anyone on the side of truth. The more we seek the truth and allow it to conform us, the more we’ll be able to truly see, and the better we’ll be able to communicate these realities.
The worst thing for us is to become despondent and personally polarised in our thinking, feeling that none of it’s worth it. We must make a pact with ourselves to become high minded, dedicated to the cause of ‘seeing,’ having faith and hope we’ll make the difference required—warning people necessarily and caringly.
When we receive feedback that we’re off the mark, whether verbalised or not, all we can do is go back and self-reflect and be honest with ourselves; and no matter our determinations, we resolve to carry on next time, in both truth and humility.
© S. J. Wickham, 2009.