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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

HSE ENFORCEMENT WEEKLY UPDATE 28th JUNE 2017

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Posted on 28th June 2017

ROOF FALL CAUSES LIFE CHANGING INJURIES

Inadequate planning and absence of necessary equipment caused fall

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Posted on 25th June 2017

LIFT PLANNING AND CONTROL FOUND WANTING

Female building worker struck by scaffold fittings tipped from stillage

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Posted on 25th June 2017

FATALITY: CRANE COLLAPSE ON HOMES PROJECT

Two workmen die in crane collapse in Crewe

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Posted on 23rd June 2017

BUILD UK EXPLAINS PROJECT H&S TRAINING STANDARD

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Posted on 21st June 2017

HSE ENFORCEMENT WEEKLY UPDATE 21 JUNE 2017

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Posted on 21st June 2017

CIVILS FIRMS PAYS PRICE OVER PUBLIC DANGER

Fencing wire struck member of public relaxing in own garden

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Posted on 20th June 2017

DELAYED RESCUE CONTRIBUTED TO DEATH AT HEIGHT

MEWP operator died trapped between controls and roof beam

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Posted on 20th June 2017

CLIENT FINED UNDER CDM 2007 & CDM 2015

Construction work must be properly managed from outset

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Posted on 19th June 2017

WORKMAN BURNED WHILST CUTTING LIVE CABLE

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Posted on 19th June 2017

WORKMAN CHEATS DEATH IN 8M ROOFLIGHT FALL

Steel fabricators fined over unsafe short-term roofwork

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Posted on 19th June 2017

HOMES FIRM DIRECTOR CONVICTED OF MANSLAUGHTER

Excavation collapse dangers ignored by director and digger operator

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Posted on 14th June 2017

HSE ENFORCEMENT WEEKLY UPDATE 14th JUNE 2017

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Posted on 14th June 2017

BOSS AND FOREMAN CONVICTED OF MANSLAUGHTER

Safety standards allowed to fall despite HSE enforcement action

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Posted on 10th June 2017

WORK AT HEIGHT ADVANCES HIGHLIGHTED AT EXPO

Access Industry Forum (AIF) puts height safety first at Expo 2017

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Posted on 9th June 2017

PRICE OF NON-COMPLIANCE RISES STEADILY

Roofing company fined £80,000 for ignoring advice and HSE notice

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Posted on 9th June 2017

MANUAL HANDLING OFFENCE FINED £67,000

Significant risk in handling excavator wheel not avoided or assessed

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Posted on 8th June 2017

COMPANY RELIED UPON EXPERIENCED WORKERS

Lack of precautions to prevent fall through fragile rooflight

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Posted on 7th June 2017

CLIENT FAILED TO APPOINT COMPETENT CONTRACTOR

Contractor receives prison term whilst CDM client fined £160,000

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Posted on 7th June 2017

PUZZLES HELP DELIVER CITB AND NEBOSH COURSES

Innovative new tool available to support effective H&S training

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Posted on 7th June 2017

NEW DUMPER TO IMPROVE SAFETY AND EFFICIENCY

Manufacturer promises greater visibility, stability and operator protection

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Posted on 7th June 2017

HSE ENFORCEMENT WEEKLY UPDATE 7th JUNE 2017

hselogo1Prosecutions and enforcement notices weekly update and analysis

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Posted on 7th June 2017

NEW GUIDE ON GUILTY PLEA SENTENCING

Sentencing Council guidelines may assist corporate H&S offenders

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Posted on 6th June 2017

MAJOR CONTRACTOR RESPONDS TO ‘BEARDS BAN’ BLAST

Union calls for dust elimination and consultation before imposing ban

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Posted on 5th June 2017

CONSTRUCTION DEATHS TUMBLE IN 2016/17

Latest HSE latest records suggests substantial drop in worker fatalities

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Posted on 5th June 2017
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