Tribute to a true friend and inspiration.
Allow me to please pay tribute a man sorely missed not just as a construction industry health and safety ambassador but equally so as a true friend and inspiration. Ian Whttingham MBE sadly passed away in April 2009 at the age of 41 having spent the last 16 years of his life as paraplegic following a roof fall. No individual worked harder and achieved more success than Ian in his mission to promote the importance of improving safety standards in the construction industry. From Government leaders to Company Directors to the people who carry out roofwork on a day-to-day basis Ian left a mark on them all. I miss you mate!
The importance of engagement and connection in every walk of life can never be underestimated. I firmly believe that people's behaviour is influenced strongly by emotional connection and content. Joining a new business or starting work on a new project, health and safety behaviours are often "shaped" at induction and the importance of the induction process is often underestimated. Poor inductions lead to poor behaviours, in turn this leads to less than the desired standards and often accidents occur.
Inductions to companies and projects are delivered in many ways. Materials such as handbooks, flip charts, site rules sheets and often a "read that and sign that" one liner. Regardless of the material used it is the clarity of the message, the sincerity of the delivery and the engagement generated is crucial. As far back as 2000 the HSE produced a short film called "Turning Concern into Action" in which Ian Whittingham appeared and contributed to the production. The film was launched at the Queen Elizabeth Law Courts in London at a conference of the same name. I first watched this film at a pre-conference preview at which the majority of those who appear in it also watched it for the first time. It was hugely powerful and the emotion within that room is something I will never forget.
The film (now a dvd) has been made available for play and download via the link below. Please spare the 7 minutes it takes to play it and consider the strength of your current health and safety messages. It can be used freely at your company or project inductions, the power of the message it contains shows emotional content much more than my words ever could.