Partly cloudy
9 °C
Germantown, Maryland
Partly cloudy

Tue Nov 20 2018
none

The four letter word that can turn people away

31-08-2010
by 
in 
The four letter word that can turn people away

I don’t use the “safe” word anymore!

The “s” word has such a poor reputation I find it can turn people away.

Maybe they have had enough of the policeman approach, or, the threat of legal action or the use of the “s” word to justify an otherwise unjustifiable decision?

It’s ironic that the profession dedicated to the prevention of harm to our most valuable resource, our people, appears to have a credibility issue.

But, we all need our people to be safe; no one wants to get hurt. There are social, economic, reputational and moral costs associated with harming employees.

Given this huge pressure to prevent harm, how can organisations show they are doing all they can (i.e. comply with their legal requirements) to prevent harm, and actually prevent harm?

There are three components of a capable organisation: (see diagram below)

  • Systems: including all the hardware, software and management processes required to deliver the organisations products and services;
  • Leadership: ensuring all people who are responsible for managing others have the necessary skills to be a leader, and
  • People: ensuring employees are competent to do their work, and are engaged in the business and their team

When these three components work together, i.e. Targeted Systems, Effective Leadership and Engaged People a capable organisation can become a successful one.

Success relies on a partnership between leaders and their teams, a sharing of responsibility.

If I had to pick one of these components as a priority, I would pick Leadership. Effective leaders can modify systems to the needs of the business, and drive the engagement of their people. Leaders must set the expectations and behaviour of the business, providing the limits in which the rest of the organisation works.

This is known as setting the “tolerated” risk in the business.

Once a leader understands how to set and manage the tolerated risk, and engage their people they are on the journey to managing the level of injury risk, in other words preventing injuries.

Preventing Injuries is after all what we want to achieve: and if people can see a logical and easy to understand process, the “s” doesn’t come into it!

*Dr Marcus Cattani is educated in Occupational Health and Hygiene and has worked for over 20 years in the manufacturing and resources industries. He currently runs a consultancy, which provides the technical resources required to manage risk of injuries, including an innovative solution to train leaders in operational leadership and how to sustain an organisations focus on preventing harm.

Cattani Consulting
Ph: 08 6270 6357

Related news & editorials

  1. 15.11.2018
    15.11.2018
    by      In
    It may sound obvious, but workplace hygiene starts with hygienic employees. And that begins with the appropriate routine of hand washing.
    However, who can honestly say that they know the best way to wash their hands? Check out these recommendations from the Mayo Clinic and see whether you’ve got it... Read More
  2. 14.11.2018
    14.11.2018
    by      In
    The recent reclassification of welding fume as “carcinogenic to humans” by the International Agency for Research on Cancer has encouraged many to rethink their stance on welders’ respiratory protection.
    An unprotected welder operating within Australian workplace exposure standards for general... Read More
  3. 31.10.2018
    31.10.2018
    by      In
    Sprains and strains remain the most common forms of workplace injuries in Australia, according to data for 2017-18 just released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Of the 563,600 people who experienced a work-related injury or illness during the 12 months covered, sprain/strain was the most... Read More
  4. 22.10.2018
    22.10.2018
    by      In
    In the weeks leading into the silly season, warehouses will be working at capacity, forklift drivers are going to be pushed to move stock quickly, and unprotected pallet racking is going to be fair game to the likes of the tired forklifts.
    According to Rack Armour, protecting that pallet racking... Read More