Ideas for introducing HOP in Safe Work Month

Safe Work Month is an ideal time to introduce the HOP principles and explore how Operational Learning could be part of everyday work. Here’s how we are helping organisations to introduce HOP during Safety Month.

October is National Safe Work Month in Australia, putting the spotlight on safe work and encouraging discussion around safety.

It’s an ideal time to introduce the HOP principles, explore Learning Teams, and shift the focus of safety from blaming and shaming to learning and improving.

For safety leaders looking to start the conversation around new view thinking, here are some ways we have worked with organisations to introduce HOP during Safety Month.

Team talks


Introducing a new philosophy around safety is not going to happen overnight – or even over the course of a month! But with safety front of mind during October, the discussion can get started with a short talk or presentation to a team of frontline workers or operational personnel. Our HOP team have delivered these (virtually and in-person) in the form of a short introduction to the HOP principles, or a quick overview of Learning Teams, based around themes set by the organisation.

Something as simple as ‘Learning from everyday work’ can be the ideal introduction to the HOP concepts, such as Black Line vs Blue Line, or improvements organisations have made after running Learning Teams. The best part about HOP is that it doesn’t stop at safety. Improving the work has benefits that reach far beyond safety – including increased productivity, trust, communication and individual empowerment.

Learning Teams Pilot


We’ve worked with a number of clients to introduce Learning Teams through a pilot program that is rolled out in one area of operations before exploring a wider roll out across the organisation.

While this approach requires a little more planning, running a Learning Teams pilot through Safety Month can tie in well with other initiatives that bring a focus to safety. Learning Teams flip more traditional safety practices on the head by putting frontline experts at the centre of the conversation about how work is really done. This is undertaken in a facilitated environment without blame or judgement.

Generally, we’ve found with Learning Teams that once workers have seen work improve as a result of a Learning Team, more participants will want to get involved. Building this initiative into Safety Month can improve the initial uptake or help to overcome other obstacles or resistance to trying something new.

HOP Fundamentals Training


We’ve worked with several organisations to deliver a tailored 1 Day HOP Fundamentals course to HSE teams, supervisors or senior leaders through our in-house training option. While our public 1-Day and 3 Day HOP courses are run throughout the year, an in-house 1 Day Fundamentals course can be the best option for introducing the concepts to a small group or wider cohort within an organisation as the first step to adopting HOP.

Southpac has developed a suite of HOP Fundamentals courses focused around the unique needs and challenges of each key group, including HOP for Senior Leaders and HOP for Supervisors. Ask us about a tailored option for your team.

Asking better questions


One of the easiest ways for safety professionals to begin introducing the HOP approach is to start asking better questions! Better questions are designed to understand the work, and are the basis for successful operational learning. Your questions can elicit information, stories, ideas, and perspectives; tap experience; and allow strengths to show up.

Some useful questions to consider asking your people this month could include:

  • What’s the dumbest thing we ask you to do in safety?
  • Why is this dumb?
  • If you were in charge of safety, what would you do differently?
  • What’s your current greatest challenge in getting work done?

Download our free Guide to Better Questions for more ideas on getting these quality conversations started.

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