Are you Managing Safety or Managing a Safety System?

Are you Managing Safety or Managing a Safety System?

imageMuch has been written in the safety arena of late about the value for the ‘over abundance’ of red tape and bureaucracy around ensuring worker safety on construction project sites.

It seems the larger the organisation you contract to, the more ‘paperwork’ you are required to produce. Does more paperwork equal less injuries and does this mean we are safer at work? Some would argue that tick and flick exercises such as inspections and risk assessments are dehumanising or taking away the thought provoking aspects of identifying hazards and risks. (ie managing a safety system). To a large extent they are right, if not undertaken with the right motive in mind. However, if done with purpose and conviction and a sense of wanting to make real and positive change and protect workers, I believe these processes are invaluable (ie managing safety).

Every organisations Safety Journey has started with some type of documentation, for how else can you communicate a process and achieve uniformity across an organisation without a means to express what is required. So documents (electronic or paper) are here to stay, that’s just the life of most organised establishments because that is the tool or mechanism to identify the process.

Generally, an organisations Safety journey starts with compliance and tracks an upwards continuum to being effective where workers take ownership for their (and co-workers) wellbeing, and where behaviours reflect the safety values of the organisation. Sounds easy, reality is much more difficult because every person holds different beliefs about safety and risk. So establishing a foundation for the way safety is to be managed on site provides a common standard for everyone to meet, no matter where your beliefs fit with the organisation. And to this extent, this is why we have the Australian Standard ASA4801 Occupational Health & Safety Management System and Federal Safety Commissioner (FSC) requirements to provide a basis for safety expectations.

The debate about whether there is too much ‘documentation’ or not is irrelevant in my mind. The paper is the tool to aid the hazard controlling mechanisms and like most things in this life, the key issue is how and why you are using it. Could we streamline and look at more effective means of doing this, by all means. Does this added paperwork mean we are safer at work? I’ll let you make up your own minds by contemplating the downside of not effectively managing hazards and risks in your workplace:

Consider the tangible costs of:

· Lost production time

· Overtime payments

· Recruitment and retraining of new employees

· Liabilities, legal costs and fines

· Increased insurance premiums

And the intangible costs.

· Loss of reputation

· Reduced chance of winning contracts

· Reduced investment

· Reduced employee morale

· Increased turnover

· Increased absenteeism and sick leave

Any safety initiatives are better than none ! Why not look at where you are in your safety journey and make a wise investment for your organisation and look at developing your companies safety requirements.

Safety in Industry have helped countless contractors and builders across the country in meeting their obligations under the Safety Act with Safety documentation such as Safe Work Method Statements, Safety Management Plans and Manuals and implementation of 3rd party accredited management systems to FSC implementations.

They also provide a number of other specialist services such as capability statement writing, tender and bid writing, and construction and safety management training.

Craig Clancy (B.App Sc – Const Mng)

Director – Safety In Industry Pty Ltd

M: 0458 797 836

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