It is time to do a reality check on how we manage Workplace Health and Safety (WHS)
- Why do we see an eighteen page “Safe Work Method Statement/ JSA” as a helpful tool at the coal face? – Surprise!! surprise!! these are in existence and we are perpetuating this approach.
- Why do we see a light vehicle pre-start inspection taking 15 minutes to do at the start of every shift including monitoring radiator water coolant levels?
- Why do we categorically ban certain types of high energy intensity tools across the business?
- Why do we conduct breath alcohol tests on every person prior to starting work at mine sites and test every person getting onto the FIFO charter flight from the site back to home base? Is it because we don’t trust our employees, are we too afraid to target non-compliant individuals or are we just comfortable with applying another process to the business – because that is the way things are done around here.
We complain about statutory red tape but fail to look at ourselves – We are drowning in rules and red tape of our own making.
This is imposing significant administration times / costs to the business without markedly improving the safety outcome.
There are many who feast and make a living off the corporate body including in house safety professionals, external safety consultants and lawyers.
They preach Zero Harm from their Safety Pulpit; providing comforting and wise but not necessarily practical advice to solve WHS issues and provide Safety Management Systems , complex procedures , more forms and then audit compliance etc.
Are we lemmings headed towards the cliff face? – where costs are rising and businesses are being strangled out of existence.
We introduce another rule / corrective action and apply it globally in response to an incident investigation/ hazard report.
In many cases it would have been smarter, courageous and far more practical to address many issues at the individual and supervisor level rather than adopt a lazy, legal CYA approach and apply solutions across the organisation.
It is time to get off the ground hog day cut & paste safety merry-go-round and have a good look at what we are creating and align it with the business needs.