The HSE (Health and Safety Executive) suffer with a poor public reputation. Many people see them as the cause of our so called compensation culture. Most people you meet will have at least one story of how health and safety has ruined something in their lives. The reality of the situation is very different.
The HSE seem to have recognized this gap in public understanding and are making focused efforts to try and educate them. One of the ways that they are approaching this problem is through various social media channels.
Firstly, the HSE website now incorporates a blog by their chair, Judith Hackitt. She updates the blog regularly and gives her opinion on various topical issues related to health and safety. In her most recent blog post she directly addresses the public misconception of the HSE’s role in society. She uses her blog to present her moderated approach to health and safety and shows a human side of the HSE.
As well as this blog, Judith Hackitt has also recently taken part in a live Twitter chat. The live question and answer session took place on Twitter on Wednesday 11th July at 3pm. It lasted for one hour and gave people the opportunity to ask questions and give their opinion using the #askHSE hashtag. It also seems like there will be many similar opportunities in the near future. You can follow the HSE on Twitter @H_S_E.
The HSE’s use of social media suggests that they do want to change their public image. If people understand that the HSE are actually working for them rather than against them, they will be far more likely to comply with regulations and take an active role in shaping future policies. With this in mind, social media sites like Twitter and Facebook could end up being one the HSE’s most valuable tools.