Managing an environmental, health, and safety (EHS) program is a crucial job, and one that requires a keen mind, attention to detail, and dedication to the role.
Yet one of the other things EHS professionals need in order to excel is a firm grasp of analytical skills. Being able to analyze incoming data, interpret its meaning, and then make decisions based on that analysis can save lives, make companies more profitable, and help pave the way forward for your career.
Critical Thinking: The Foundation of Analytical Skills
You’re unlikely to be born knowing the types of analytical skills needed to excel as a safety professional. Thankfully these skills can be taught and practiced. There are many different skills, such as understanding statistical data and safety analytics, that play a part. Other skills directly related to your particular sector or industry, such as how the safety features of specific pieces of equipment or machinery operate, are also crucial.
However, but one of the most important analytical skills to have, and one that is the most universal, is critical thinking. Just in the same way that “common sense” can be shockingly uncommon to find at times, critical thinking is often absent in the business world. Learning to question actions and methodologies in an effort to find easier, safer, and more efficient ways to achieve goals in production, processing, and management is one of the best ways to become a better EHS analyst.
How to Learn and Practice These Skills
For anyone looking to hone their analytical skills, there are a number of ways you can go about it. A number of excellent methods to both learn and practice better analysis and interpretation include the following:
- Practice Observation: Analytical skills often require having a strong attention to detail. You can build this ability by making an effort to be more observant on a daily basis. Making it a habit to look for the kinds of little details that could otherwise be overlooked can translate to catching EHS issues before they become a problem.
- Review Your Decisions: Whether it’s a work-related decision or not, going over the pros and cons of the decision before you make it can help you develop the kinds of skills needed to become a more agile and flexible thinker.
- Make It Fun: Inject some fun into the learning process by using brain games. Crossword puzzles, Sudoku, chess, Scrabble — anything that makes you focus and think hard can get the analytical part of your brain in fighting shape.
The Last Word on Building Your Own Analytical Abilities
Ensuring you develop and maintain your ability to observe and analyze situations is crucial for your role as an EHS professional. Not only are these the kind of universal, transferable skills that can serve you well both in your personal life as well as in your career, but these skills will make your place of work that much safer for everyone — including yourself.