Words by Tracey Wright
April 06, 2022
Mitch completed our IOSH Certificated Performance Psychology for Safety Program in April 2021. He agreed to share his experience of the program with us.
Performance Psychology for Safety and Health Professionals – I’m interested in how we influence and empower people to improve.
My journey in health and safety started in the 1970s. At the time, I was a Plant Foreman with responsibility for resurfacing airfields for the USAF and MOD, it took me all over the world. Back then, I had responsibilities for everything to do with health and safety. In the 70’s and 80’s it was an afterthought – but I was genuinely interested in it from the start.
There were three specific events that really sealed my passion for learning more, and consistently finding ways to improve. The first event that shook me, was the death of my nephew who was killed in a workplace accident at Britain’s largest container port. The second involved a work colleague who was run over by a 27-tonne loading shovel in a serious accident at work. Although he survived, his injuries were life changing. This tragic news had to be given to his wife. The third event was to do with my son. He didn’t show up for work one day, so the search was on. Turned out he had a dermoid cyst burst inside of his head, sending him into a strange world. At Addenbrookes Hospital, when he was being prepared for surgery, I remember his consultant reeling off the list of risks with this type of operation – it was like a tsunami of bad news.
As devastating as all these events were, I had a buffer between me and the people affected by the first two tragedies, however slight – but with my son there was no buffer. I was directly affected. That was the moment when I decided I was going to get properly qualified in health and safety. I had the experience of many working years, and now I had first-hand experience that I could relate to.
There are people who still don’t get it and I was keen to explore the different ways of empowering people to do something, giving control to those on the front line, and to never settle for second best.
There are some very powerful teachings in this program. When I listen to podcasts about Nasa or Formula One, it’s always around empowering people to do stuff. Decision making is from the ground up – after all, these guys are at the coal face. Take Lewis Hamilton as an example. He’s a great driver and the stats prove it. But in every interview, you will always hear him say, ‘there’s still more to do, we’ve got to keep on improving’. It’s about mindset, and it’s the same with health and safety. That’s what makes this course so good – the learning is phenomenal.
So for me, this program is validating that what I’m doing, my approach towards health and safety, empowerment and never settling for second best, is absolutely right.
Darren comes across brilliantly in all the module videos. And so does Zach – I was a bit sceptical at first because he is so young, but he’s very good and believable. I’m that impressed with the program, I sent the link to my HR Director. I’ve being doing courses for decades and this is in the top two to three. It’s a fantastic learning journey.
The 3 things that stood out were:
He’s so believable. He’s the only safety professional in the world who specialises in performance psychology but he’s not at all brash. He’s sitting in his leather chair at home talking to you on video and he’s just telling you how it is. You can’t help but buy into him – even his little hesitations add to his authenticity. If he told me the world was going to end tomorrow, I’d believe him!
What would I say about the Program?
Just do it. I paid for the program myself, but I know my company would have sponsored me had I asked. This is the course to spend your money on. It’s so informative. It felt like a eureka moment.
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