Health and safety professionals and Covid-19

Professor Chia-Huei Wu has co-authored an article published in the Summer edition of <i>Safeguard</i> magazine, on how health and safety professionals have responded to the demands of Covid-19.

The article, co-authored by Professor Wu, Director of the Workplace Behaviour Research Centre, Dr Tristan W Casey, Griffith University and Dr Xiaowen Hu, Queensland University of Technology, discusses research into job crafting and resilience in health and safety (H&S) professionals over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic. During this time these professionals faced significant additional responsibilies, becoming ‘subject matter expert in pandemic and crisis response’, and balancing Covid-19 safety on top of regular safety management. 

Through mixed research methods, including interviews with 25 safety managers during 2020, and a survey of 314 Australian H&S professionals, the researchers identified areas of challenges and opportunities presented to H&S workers over the last 18 months in response to the elevated importance of health and safety management in the workplace. These areas included increased workloads, additional stakeholder management and prioritisation of Covid-19 safety and operational safety activites. 

The research team found that many H&S professionals were empowered by the events of the pandemic:

  • 41% of respondents said that management support for safety was significantly better
  • 45% said their status and influence was enhanced
  • 51% indicated that the value and importance of H&S was elevated, while only 13% felt margianlised

The authors highlighted how many H&S professionals also demonstratred some form of job-crafting in response to the challenges presented on a global scale, in both a promotional and preventative way. The team found that 80% of H&S professionals reported engaging in a constructive form of promotion-oriented job crafting- expanding their relationships with stakeholders inside and outside the organisation, thinking positively about their contributions to the organisation, and upskilling themselves independently of formal training and development opportunities. 

Find out more by reading the full article on Safeguard magazine online.