Workplace health and safety is basically a simple concept. It’s about preventing people from being hurt or getting sick because of what happens at work and that’s not difficult when you think about it. All you have to do is watch what people do and how they do it, figure what could hurt them and do you best to stop it happening. Not exactly rocket science is it? So how come people seem to find the whole thing so difficult?
Well… while the basics are simple, the process involves people and they aren’t simple. Managers, supervisors, workers, visitors, regulators, politicians and so the list goes on and every one of these people is different both individually and as groups. They have different beliefs; different values; different expectations; and, most importantly, different perceptions of risk and this is where the complications arise.
Let me give you an example … there is no way known to God or man that I would willingly throw myself out of a perfectly good aeroplane flying 10 000 feet above the ground depending on an oversize handkerchief to get me safely back down to terra firma. Even the thought of it sends shivers down my spine. Yet for some people it’s the thrill of a lifetime and they enjoy it so much they spend thousands of dollars to do it again and again. I think they’re nuts and they probably think I’m a wimp … ah well, such is life.
Given the precautions they take, there’s probably a greater chance of being struck by lightning or being run over by a big wheel truck being driven by a deranged gorilla than there is of being injured or killed while skydiving … I don’t care, I’m not doing it. And that’s the problem for health and safety people – different people have different perceptions of what is or is not dangerous. To some the safety rules go to far, to others they don’t go far enough and others don’t even understand what all the fuss is about and they’re a real worry.
There’s no doubt that everything we do poses a risk of us being hurt and my experience tells me that where there’s a risk of something happening it eventually will. Work is no different than the rest of life and those who believe that they can make work risk free are just as delusional as those who think they’re invulnerable and will never get hurt.
The thing that makes the simple concept of injury prevention so difficult is that nobody wants to get hurt while at work and nobody wants to see someone else get hurt but there is, and always will be, an element of risk of this happening. Finding a balance point where this risk of injury is as close to zero as possible without going over the top is the challenge. My goal with this site is to help you achieve this at your workplace.
What you’ll find here is some practical advice on doing prevention stuff, what worked for me and what didn’t. Some ranting and raving in what is best described as a blog and hopefully some stuff that will make your life a little easier.
Some disclaimers. I’m not a lawyer so nothing on this site should be considered legal advice. If you want legal advice then go see a lawyer who specialises in this area. Any mention on the site about workers compensation or injury management is general observation. My job has been to try and put those folk out of work and I am far from being an expert in that area which is very specialised. Go and see one of them if you’re looking for that sort of advice. My whole experience has been in Australia generally and South Australia in particular What I know about safety law and practices in other countries and even some other states of Australia is general so please take that into account. Lastly, there are some ads posted on the site and some links which also earn me some money to off-set the cost of running the site. If you don’t like that, please don’t click on the links.
Ok, that’s about it from me. I hope you enjoy the site.
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