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Safety Values, Ideas, Behaviours and Clothes

7 July 2021

For over 30 years Simon been involved in the management and leadership of workplace, health, safety and wellbeing. During his time in both the army and the fire brigade, the management of rapidly changing and sometimes dangerous work-activities, has taught him to constantly question, both what he does, and the way he thinks. As MD of Ouch, (a health, safety and wellbeing training and consultancy) Simon has combined his many years of practical experience with academic study of both psychology and philosophy. This combination of learning has enabled Simon to develop a variety of multi-disciplined approaches to the everyday issues which face the H&S industry.

Safety values, ideas, behaviours and clothes

Safety values, thoughts, ideas and behaviours are a bit like clothes, we all have them, but knowing which to wear, recycle or ditch is often a challenge.

After what has been a very difficult period for many, now might be the perfect time to open your safety values, thoughts, ideas and behaviour wardrobe and have a good old clear-out. Some of us may be inclined to bulk buy what’s on special offer or worn by influencers or others but beware you could be replacing something that works, with a newer selection of ill-fitting and inappropriate values, thoughts, ideas and behaviours. Some safety approaches may look great in the packet and appear lovely on others but they’re just not you. They don’t fit and may even result in an unsightly rash or two.

When we approach a new day or new project, we tend to reach for what is most accessible. What comes easily to mind, which for many is located on the top of the pile. Occasionally we have a cursory root around but generally it is the most familiar and immediately available that we choose to wear.

If we examine our own wardrobe of safety values, thoughts, ideas and behaviours we might see a wide selection of items, including:

  • Undies which have become a sartorial paradigm. Standard wear, they are the base layer for every outfit. When we think it’s time for a change, we often add a splash of colour or a logo to what is essentially the same old, same old with a cherry on top.
  • There is the stuff we are always going on about, we publicly laud it’s virtues but choose not to wear or water down those virtues when they are put under pressure or we are unlikely to be held responsible for our actions by others.
  • Most people are in possession of the truly beautiful, but sometimes we confuse these items with others which we merely believe to be great.
  • Some have splashed out on expensive, brand spanking new clobber that is still in the packet. It could be brilliant but finding the time to unpack it, remove the pins and iron it never seems to materialise.
  • We have all got the got our basics, they do the job, no fuss, no labels they just work.
  • Many may have kit, which is worn for the crowd, we don it simply for the purposes of communicating our preferred or socially acceptable persona.
  • There’s the cool stuff, which we are determined to wear, no matter how hot and sweaty we might get, taking it off is not an option.
  • Most of us own stuff which is designed to protect us from the elements. It may come with a 100% guaranteed waterproof sticker on it, whilst failing to resist even the lightest of showers and a hood which obscures our view.
  • There are the items, which if we are being totally honest we don’t know how to wear. Is it a jacket, or a shirt, which button fastens where? We’re not really sure.
  • What about the sensitive stuff? It can only be hand washed and dried on the line. Whilst acknowledging it is both delicate and time-consuming to look after, with the right preparation and care, it will probably work a treat and look amazing on most people irrespective of the occasion.
  • There’s team wear, uniforms and stuff adorned with badges.
  • Threads which are incompatible with others, they might be too tight, full of holes, baggy in the wrong places or are covered in patches. No matter how much we try and kid ourselves and others into believing that they are de-rigour, deep down we know they suck!
  • We have all had and even worn items which look totally different or even become invisible in the cold light of day.
  • I don’t know about you? but I’ve got some items that I wear as a means of annoying others.
  • Over the last few years many have been attracted to items covered in gaudy writing. These are the perfect representation of the sartorial zeitgeist. They are both highly fashionable and aspirational. They’re in the magazines, online and heavily promoted by fashionistas at conferences, on podcasts and webinars. They are normally very expensive and in many cases fail to deliver what’s on the label.
  • There are t-shirts made and sold by sock experts and ties which must be worn if we want to enter a club.
  • Items which were perfect whilst pogoing the night away at the Brookfield all those years ago but perhaps less appropriate now, (ahh the memories).
  • Outfits which looked good at first but after a few washes and on closer inspection quickly become threadbare. (Though I’d never admit it in public).
  • And finally, Clobber which was forced upon us by others. we only keep it, on the off chance that the giver pops round one day, but otherwise its never worn and commonly resides in a binbag somewhere out of sight and out of mind.

Some values, thoughts, ideas and beliefs have stood the test of time. They may have gone in and out of fashion, or never been the flavour of anybody else’s month.  But no matter how frustrated we may be by the dissention of others, shouting them down, misrepresenting their opinions, wearing blinkers or just ignoring them should never be an option. Only by examining our values, ideas, beliefs with the help of mirrors and the opinions of others, can we truly evaluate how they feel and look in different light and from the perspective of others.

Anyway, I’ve got to go now, it is time to get to work on my hat selection.