As Health & Safety Manager for MacIntyre, one of my roles is to carry out audits in MacIntyre services. I try to do about one a month and they provide a great opportunity to meet MacIntyre staff and the people we support. During a typical audit I spend a lot of time with the Frontline Manager looking at paperwork as health and safety has to be evidenced through records. However, I also look at practice and just get talking to people. Not only do I find out a lot this way but it makes the audit seem to go much faster and a much more pleasant experience for all involved.
One of the first things I like to do when arriving on site is to meet the people we support. Sometimes this happens straight away because I am greeted at the front door by someone. Quite often I will hear another voice in the background saying something like; “Don’t forget to ask him for his ID!” and “get him to sign the visitors book!” This always makes me grin! I don’t know why.
Other times I meet people while we take a bit of a tour round the property. Quite often the people we support want to show me their bedroom which is always an honour as they are so often beautifully decorated and have posters, ornaments and décor that say a lot about the person, their interests, personality and the love they share with friends or family. When it comes to posters, I have come to the conclusion that the most popular poster of people supported by MacIntyre is the one of the Beatles walking across the Zebra Crossing at Abbey Road. I see that everywhere! It’s very bad because Paul McCartney is not wearing shoes! – That’s not safe and what’s more, he’s smoking! Shocking!
Anyway back to interactions with people on audits.
I experience lots of Great Interactions when I meet people during audits. I remember a gentleman I met a few months ago at one of our Adult Learning Services who was hilarious. It was like being audience to a live comedy act – just for me. Some of his humour was a bit risqué but very funny! I’ve been meaning to go back for more! During a recent BSi audit I met a gentleman in one of our registered care services who had a great repertoire of jokes that he makes up himself. My favourite one was this: “What type of health and safety document is the chef’s favourite? Answer: A whisk assessment!”
Of course not everyone I meet wants my company. I was head-butted once when I was too close to someone and in another situation I was marched off the premises by a young lady who had had enough of me talking to her staff! However, most of the time, people are very friendly, welcoming and polite.
A gentleman I met recently at one of our supported living services was really into woodwork and gave me a special tour of his shed. It was immaculately maintained. I wish staff kept sheds this safe and tidy. He had made some great pieces of woodwork such as a plant tray and bird box. It was nice to see the proud look on his face when he was showing me these things.
Even when words and signing are not the preferred form of communication, a friendly wave, smile or enthusiastic sound is all that it takes to connect with people. It’s these connections and the humour that make my job so much more than just ‘Health & Safety’.
Health and Safety Manager