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DOING SAFETY DIFFERENTLY… AND BETTER?

Rethinking a more positive approach to workplace health and safety

The world of workplace health and safety is not a ‘cool’ space to occupy in 2017.

The H&S brand has been seriously damaged over the last 20 plus years and is now often used as a metaphor for ‘absolute safety’, the ‘nanny state’ and all that is bureaucratically overzealous and risk averse.

HSE has sought to dispel health and safety ‘myths’ and is fighting a rear-guard battle to rescue the brand. However, the damaging motto of “Elf and Safety” now seems firmly embedded in popular culture.

The subject matter is not the natural ally of positivity. Danger, hazards, harm and risk are words used to describe the core business of health and safety, supplemented by compliance, error and sanctions.

Just take a look at our website news!

Alternative ways of thinking about safety

A number of academics and practitioners based in Australia are currently leading the way in rethinking health and safety. Ideas are being developed and shared on more positive approaches to minimising the harm which can be caused at work.

The Safety Differently website provides a forum for those wishing express or hear of alternative approaches. The website is based on the belief that:

“People and organisations need to adapt. Traditional approaches to safety are not well suited for this. They are, to a large extent built on linear ideas – ideas about tighter control of work and processes, of removing creativity and autonomy, of telling people to comply.

The purpose of this website is to celebrate new and different approaches to safety. More specifically it is about exploring approaches that boost the capacity of people and organisations to handle their activities successfully, under varying conditions.

Some of the analytical leverage will come from theoretical advancements in fields such as adaptive safety, resilience engineering, complexity theory, and human factors. But the ambition is to stay close to pragmatic advancements that actually deliver safety differently, in action.”

Or ….. should it be Health Differently?

The dictionary tells us that Safety is the condition of being “protected from injury” whilst Health is the condition of being “free from illness or injury”. Both terms effectively mean same i.e. people are protected from harm.

Harm is any negative impact on health and can include both immediate traumatic injury and the harm arising progressively over longer periods of time including any impact on mental health. What we currently badge as “Health and Safety at Work” could therefore more simply be described as “Health at Work”.

We could promote a focus on the more realistic objective of minimising harm to health as opposed to maximising safety. We all know what harm looks like whereas safety is far more subjective.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) might become the Health Protection Executive (HPE) working alongside the Health Service (HS) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The change would reflect the new emphasis on longer term health issues and erase the damaging “Elf and Safety” brand with the stroke of pen! Meanwhile, take a look at the Safety Differently website for some thought-provoking and fresh ideas.

 

Latest Construction Health and Safety News

PRISON TERM FOR SOLE TRADER CONTRACTOR

Small contractor pays the price for failing to manage work at height hazards

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Posted on 19th October 2017

WORKMAN FELL THROUGH ROOF OPENING

Waterproof membrane concealed conservatory roof hazard

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Posted on 19th October 2017

HSE ENFORCEMENT WEEKLY UPDATE 18th OCT 2017

hselogo1Prosecutions and enforcement notices weekly update and analysis

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Posted on 19th October 2017

DEATH AND POORLY MANAGED RISK FINED £3.8 MILLION

Unstable precast concrete panels toppled MEWP and crushed operator

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Posted on 18th October 2017

DOING SAFETY DIFFERENTLY – THE MOVIE…

Reducing compliance bureaucracy and putting trusting in people

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Posted on 13th October 2017

WORKMAN FELL FROM EDGE OF UNGUARDED OPENING

Firm fined £95,000 over failure to assess and protect workers at height

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Posted on 13th October 2017

FITTERS FINGERS SEVERED BY UNGUARDED TABLE SAW

Compensation order for injured workman takes precedence over fine

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Posted on 13th October 2017

HSE ENFORCEMENT WEEKLY UPDATE 11th OCT 2017

hselogo1Prosecutions and enforcement notices weekly update and analysis

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Posted on 11th October 2017

ROOF WORKER FRACTURED BACK IN FRAGILE FALL

Fragile wood wool slabs failed to support weight of workman

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Posted on 11th October 2017

PRODUCTS: ELIMINATING HEALTH RISKS BY DESIGN

Innovative product eliminates key hazards for CDM 2015 designers

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Posted on 11th October 2017

DRIVER DIED WHEN CRUSHED BETWEEN VEHICLES

Firm failed to follow industry guidance on coupling and uncoupling

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Posted on 10th October 2017

WORKER LOSES HANDS AND FEET IN POWER LINE STRIKE

Director handed prison term over unsafe scaffolding operation

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Posted on 6th October 2017

INDUSTRY FORUM CONSIDERS DUMPER HAZARDS

CPA and CECA plan new guidance on Forward Tipping Dumpers

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Posted on 6th October 2017

HSE ENFORCEMENT WEEKLY UPDATE 4th OCT 2017

hselogo1Prosecutions and enforcement notices weekly update and analysis

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Posted on 5th October 2017

INCIDENT: UNDERGROUND CABLE STRIKE

Three treated for burns after power cable struck in London

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Posted on 5th October 2017

COUNCIL FAILED TO IMPLEMENT STATED HAVS POLICY

Fined £150k over failure to control and monitor hand-arm vibration hazard

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Posted on 5th October 2017

PROJECT MANAGER FINED OVER FAILURE TO MANAGE

Principal Contractor prosecuted alongside responsible manager

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Posted on 3rd October 2017

HSE CONSTRUCTION BLITZ GOES LIVE ON HEALTH RISKS

hselogo1Second phase of campaign looks for compliance on dust management

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Posted on 2nd October 2017

UPDATE OF ALL HSE ASBESTOS ESSENTIALS GUIDANCE

HSE publish fresh guidance for Non-Licensed work with asbestos

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Posted on 27th September 2017

HSE FINALISES PRIORITIES ON HEALTH AND CDM

Clients and designers need to act on lung disease and other health risks

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Posted on 27th September 2017

HSE ENFORCEMENT WEEKLY UPDATE 27th SEPT 2017

hselogo1Prosecutions and enforcement notices weekly update and analysis

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Posted on 27th September 2017

SCAFFOLD INSPECTORS ISSUED FALSIFIED CERTIFICATES

Prosecution for two after workman fell from illegitimately signed off scaffold

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Posted on 25th September 2017

REVERSING EXCAVATOR CRUSHED WORKMAN

Lack of management system to segregate pedestrians and vehicles

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Posted on 21st September 2017

CLIENT FINED £2.5 MILLION AFTER CONTRACTOR DEATH

Fatal fall through roof leaves client responsible for massive fine

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Posted on 21st September 2017

HSE ENFORCEMENT WEEKLY UPDATE 20th SEPT 2017

hselogo1Prosecutions and enforcement notices weekly update and analysis

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Posted on 20th September 2017
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