A collaborative piece by Emma Currie & Emmanuelle Sangster (links below)

"The proposal is this: What if we can have the same effect through engaging with our health and safety conversations as we do in conversations we see as current within our popular culture?"

The printing press was invented in the 15th century in order to tell the world of the stories and happenings of worldwide and local events (Dittmar, 2011). A mass spread of information began a broad “way of life”; people became knowledgeable and interested in a variety of topics otherwise out with their reach. (Forbes and Mahan, 2005). In this manner, information has transpired through radio; bringing a nation of people together for radio broadcasts to play music to thousands of people simultaneously, broadcast interviews and radio programmes that unite the nation in interest.  

The creation of the television brought radio and newspaper stories to life, adding a 3D element that has created popular culture throughout generations. Fictional and real life stories are engaged in, celebrated, mourned, and enjoyed through a number of years. The impact therefore that press print; radio and television has on the knowledge of fictional and reality stories alike have been extraordinary. News shows; documentaries; reality television shows and fictional entertainment programmes alike all document and broadcast aspects of life hidden otherwise by the limitations of our local and social connections.  

True to this concept, consumer brands use explicit advertisements that create a story about their brand. Advertisements engages the audience in a story that allows them to connect with that brand Steve Jobs was known for turning sales presentations into moving experiences for the audience to be informed; entertained and inspired (Gallo, 2010). Alike, social networks have successfully laid the foundations of their development and presence by connecting individuals through the stories that they tell. These stories of marked interest broadcast virally to an intricate network of connected individuals through the method of an individual wishing to re-tell a story throughout their network. The art of storytelling has made Facebook into a worldwide phenomenon; it’s market value recently reaching an estimated £157 billion pounds (CNN, 2015). However, the impact is seen much more than financially, it has engaged and connected the world with each other; and ignited passion in the world for sharing their stories and interests.  

The proposal is this: What if we can have the same effect through engaging with our health and safety conversations as we do in conversations we see as current within our popular culture? If we look into why we choose to continuously engage in certain mediums of entertainment and choose certain brands over another we may look at how it makes you feel. Creating engagement in health and safety is all about how you feel. Does your health and safety training make you feel connected? Does your health and safety initiatives make you feel motivated? How can we create enthusiasm? How do we make it a story that we are passionate about, want to learn from, share and discuss?

The use of theatre is documented within organisational and student studies as an effective and engaging methodology of learning through storytelling. Studies have shown a 60% increase in uptake of knowledge from theatre opposed to the use of lecture presentation alone (Sternberg and Garcia, 2000). Theatre within health and safety is an innovative method; and one that is increasingly being documented as proposing to be health and safety’s best-kept secret.  


We must look towards making health and safety as discussed and as engaging as stories we hear about through the various other mediums that engage us in all areas of our life. Everyone creates his or her own health and safety story every day. We should all take time to mentally take a step outside the box of our usual routines to reflect on what environment we are creating for ourselves at work, and to ask: what’s the story here?

The key is making making health and safety a topic of interest, and one that we want to share between one another via storytelling. Doing so would create a culture where stories teach, engage and inspire further connection. Driving these storytelling behaviours, even if only to encourage discussion over a bacon-roll, or making time to ‘share’ an inspiring bit of social media will bring about a safe and caring culture that puts the human at the heart of the safety story.

            All the corporation needs to supply, in this regard, is space and time to think.

Original source article: https://www.actingup.co.uk/blog/article/story-health-and-safety/