Digitalization, Occupational Safety

Communication ensures safety - Davide Scotti

Interview for the 2021 Safety Management Trend Report

7 minutes03/03/2021

As part of the Safety Management Trend Report 2021, Quentic asked leading European experts from the field of occupational health and safety for their views, opinions and predictions. So, what did they say about the current state of safety management? How do they assess current trends and developments? And where do they think the sector’s focus should lie in 2021? Listen to Davide Scotti - author, speaker and expert in cultural change in the health and safety field!

Cultural change in health and safety

Davide, you’ve been working to bring about cultural change in the field of occupational health and safety for some years now. What has been your approach to this and why?

For me, there’s no right or wrong approach. In reality, it’s all the same thing, just the label we put on it changes. Ultimately, the energy you need to create organizational change is always there in each program – it’s always the same. The difference is the substance. This is why it’s essential that the content in these programs is of the highest standard, is believable and can stimulate emotional engagement. If I had to name one, though, the approach that best reflects what I strive for is that of Safety Leadership, i.e. the ability to embrace safety’s intrinsic values and to put them into practice, actively, in challenging operational settings such as the ones we're all accustomed to. What’s important, however, is engaging the leaders, we have to speak to both their hearts and their minds, raise their awareness and motivation and give them the tools they need to have a successful influence on all members of their organization in terms of health and safety.

Measuring success in safety management

Speaking of objectives, which are the most significant criteria for measuring how successful health and safety in the workplace is?

Unfortunately, we constantly tend to limit ourselves to looking at facts and figures that we can share with management and shareholders as tangible evidence of the results achieved; but I feel that there are factors that are much more important, though much harder to measure. These are everything you see, hear, feel, everything that you experience while in the thick of it, everything that becomes apparent when you look a member of staff in the eye, the palpable energy in the workplace. These are the factors we should take some time to examine. How do we find out what they are? By asking questions!

Safety Management Trend Report 2021

Davide Scotti is one of eleven international experts who participated in the panel study for the Safety Management Trend Report 2021. You can download the full report here to get

  • New perspectives: Leading experts from eight countries share their estimations of the most important trends and the effects the Coronavirus pandemic has had on occupational safety

  • Valuable experiences: For the first time, the Safety Management Trend Report includes a large survey of professionals throughout Europe

  • A view to the future: What priorities are needed to make occupational safety fit for the future? What should specialists concentrate on now?


Download now!

Unconventional safety communication

So, you feel the most important thing is to appeal to someone’s heart. Is this why you specialize in unconventional communication? Do you think this could set a new trend?

Digitalization is one of the trends that is discussed most often these days. We shouldn’t ignore or forget this, but we must also keep in mind that, where technology can be helpful, it can never replace people’s hearts. What’s really important is communication and the sharing of information, creating a network for doing so, and keeping people motivated. This means we have to try hard to use the various methods of communication effectively. This is also true where training is concerned – the use of technology has been key during the ongoing pandemic, but we must learn to keep involvement high and use virtual communication tools that work well and that are effective.

Advice for better occupational safety in 2021

What advice can you give to those who’ll be involved with issues of health and safety in the workplace in 2021?

I would advise a young professional just entering the field of health and safety in the workplace that they need to have a visceral passion for the subject. This job can be both very frustrating and hugely rewarding. You need an abundance of commitment and passion, like I said, as well as courage, resilience and creativity. I think the best time to enter this profession is now.

I would advise HSE managers and professionals who have been working for some time in the sector to take advantage of the opportunities currently available. Right now, there is even more fertile ground to work on as the shock waves that the Covid-19 pandemic has sent round the world have highlighted the importance of safety more and more, and has caused extensive changes in how people behave.

The pandemic has also made us all understand the responsibilities we have, not just to ourselves directly, but our indirect responsibilities to the community as a whole, too. So, the advice I can give is that – now, more than ever – every member of staff and every leader should understand how to leverage their individual and social responsibilities.

Davide Scotti is the Head of HSE Culture, Communication and Training at Saipem, and since 2010 general secretary of the Leadership in Health and Safety Foundation.

Davide Scotti
Author, speaker and expert in cultural change in the health and safety field.