Beyond Compliance: Unleashing potential through self-awareness

Why understanding oneself can lead to better safety outcomes in the workplace

Beyond Compliance: Unleashing potential through self-awareness
Nikhil Rattan

In the fast-paced realm of occupational health and safety (OHS) and human resources (HR), one often overlooks the essential attribute of self-awareness. As the renowned Greek maxim goes, "know thyself.” In OHS & HR this adage couldn't be more relevant since a high degree of self-awareness holds key importance in promoting safety in the workplace and fostering a healthy work environment.

When we consider self-awareness, it recalls the words of Aristotle: “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom." OHS professionals and human resource managers alike are tasked with assessing workplace risks objectively, but personal biases can often cloud their judgment. Self-awareness empowers us to recognize and address these biases ensuring that key decisions rely on facts rather than on opinions or stereotypes.

Effective communication stands as a cornerstone in this realm since conveying accurate safety information holds high importance. Abraham Lincoln’s advice resonates here, "better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”

Self-awareness enables OHS professionals and HR managers to understand their unique communication style & adapt it to different stakeholders. This also allows them to develop personal intelligence which subsequently enables them to manage their own emotions, empathize with others and lead effectively through complex situations. 

Practical applications of self awareness

Self-awareness goes beyond being a concept; it holds practical implications in the OHS and HR profession. Given the evolving nature of risks and technologies, continuous improvement is essential. Through active self-awareness one is motivated to engage in learning and personal growth which ultimately has a positive impact on the workplace.

Within the OHS & HR landscape ethical dilemmas are commonplace. In these situations, self-awareness serves as a compass, and it guides professionals in these domains to make choices that prioritize the well being of employees while upholding industry standards. In addition, by being self-aware leaders can identify signs of stress and burnout enabling them to take measures for their own well being. In summary self- awareness is not merely a term but an essential skill for success for all of us in the field.

Improving decision making, effective communication, conflict resolution and ethical behavior within the fields of occupational health and safety & human resources is crucial for establishing healthier workplaces. While technical expertise and practical know how are very important, we should never overlook the significance of self-awareness in making a difference in this realm.