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Despite being bombarded with messages that promise us the world in exchange for … Continue Reading ››
In the weeks after the great Bunnings sausage saga of 2018 the outcry about just how silly some safety decisions are brought a wry smile to my face and has provided many with a humorous analogy on why we should focus on high consequence risk. Although I have seen a hot works permit and a safe work method statement for the site barbecue, thankfully almost all top tier construction companies have a focus on high consequence risk, be that … Continue Reading ››
Jawsis the reason I have to give myself a pep talk before going in the ocean. The 1975 movie shows what happens when a huge, psychopathic shark with a taste for people meets a small tourist island off the coast of Massachusetts (Spoiler – it doesn’t turn out well for some unsuspecting swimmers). The movie is credited for making the fear … Continue Reading ››
A little while ago, I participated in a workshop for CEOs discussing health and safety matters. We did the usual workshop thing of breaking into table discussions and feeding back to the group in time-honoured fashion. It is relatively rare to bring together such a large group of influencers, so I was looking forward to the output and the opportunity it could give to drive wholesale improvements across a number of businesses and … Continue Reading ››
Every now and then I meet people who claim that what is needed to improve safety is ‘strong and visible safety leadership’. I sort of get what they mean with ‘visible leadership’ (that leaders can be seen doing the right things), but the rest is confusing. Strong? How strong exactly? Strong in order to do what? What do you mean by ‘leadership’? And what do you mean by ‘safety’ anyway?
Curiosity might have killed the cat but it’s the lack of curiosity that is killing safety in many organisations.
Those of you who know me or have read any of my previous posts will know that I have an aversion to bureaucracy in all its forms. My reasons are many and well documented – bureaucracy isolates the worker from work, it is meant to protect only upwards in an organisation, it doesn’t make … Continue Reading ››
About 20 years ago I had a profound experience that changed the way I approach my work in safety. Prior to this I very much believed that if you can’t measure it, it doesn’t exist and that 90% of accidents are due to human error.
I was working with a group of employees and supervisors to uncover the root causes of a tragic fatality. They kept telling me that the root cause was lack of trust and open … Continue Reading ››
I once ran some focus groups on a mine site. The goal was to identify conditions that made work difficult. One of the issues that the workforce identified was that “Work is difficult when you drive at night and you can’t see signage, rocks, and other traffic”. After having presented this and other findings to the project employees during a prestart meeting, one of the truckies came up to me and said: “Let me know if you … Continue Reading ››
Not a day goes past without me being reminded about the traits of good leaders. We are bombarded by photos and quotes of so called good leaders on social media. Human Resource Departments thrive on leadership and aspirational programs. But we all can’t be leaders, there has to be a disproportionate number of good followers. If we didn’t have this discrepancy the corporate, industrial and political world would cave in under the strain of everyone wanting to … Continue Reading ››