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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

UPDATED SCAFFOLDING DESIGN E-GUIDE RELEASED

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NASC LAUNCH FREE TO DOWNLOAD GUIDANCE

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Posted on 11th August 2017

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Posted on 11th August 2017

SCAFFOLD COLLAPSE CAUSED BY LACK OF TIES

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HSE ENFORCEMENT WEEKLY UPDATE 2nd AUG 2017

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TRAINING IN CIRCULAR SAW USE FOUND WANTING

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Posted on 31st July 2017

HSE ENFORCEMENT WEEKLY UPDATE 26th JULY 2017

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Posted on 31st July 2017

WALL COLLAPSE CLAIMED LIFE OF WORKMAN

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Posted on 31st July 2017

WORKMAN FELL DURING WELDING WORK AT HEIGHT

Ladder access to water tank top was insecure and slipped when used

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Posted on 31st July 2017

CCTV INSTALLER FELL BETWEEN FLOOR JOISTS

Principal Contractor and CCTV specialist failed to plan and manage risk

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Posted on 31st July 2017

FACTORY APPRENTICE FELL DURING GUTTER CLEANING

Young workman stepped back and fell 9m through fragile rooflight

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Posted on 31st July 2017

CROSS RAIL JV CONTRACTORS FINED OVER FATALITY

Firm prosecuted after concrete fall death and two other tunnel incidents

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Posted on 31st July 2017

CONTRACTORS FAILED TO REVIEW ASBESTOS SURVEY

Major companies fined £1,000,000 plus over asbestos risk during refurb

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Posted on 31st July 2017

MAJOR CONTRACTORS LAUNCH H&S ALERT SYSTEM

Build UK members share information for effective prevention of harm

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Posted on 19th July 2017

HSE ENFORCEMENT WEEKLY UPDATE 19th JULY 2017

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Posted on 19th July 2017

STRUCTURAL SAFETY BODY LATEST NEWSLETTER

SCOSS publishes reports and expert comment on a range of issues

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Posted on 18th July 2017

SAFE SYSTEM DEVISED BUT NOT IMPLEMENTED

Workman injured by goods falling from double-decked trailer

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Posted on 18th July 2017

PREVENTION PLANNING REQUIRED FOR FRAGILE RISK

Fall arrest safety netting not used to mitigate fall consequences

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Posted on 17th July 2017

MANAGEMENT OF FORMWORK NOT UP TO THE MARK

Erector fell 3m after access scaffold board failed under load

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Posted on 17th July 2017

VIBRATION UNCONTROLLED & WORKERS UNINFORMED

Engineering firm fined £120,000 over hand-arm vibration risk

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Posted on 14th July 2017

HSE ENFORCEMENT WEEKLY UPDATE 12th JULY 2017

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Posted on 12th July 2017

SCAFFOLDER WAS UNTRAINED AND UNSUPERVISED

Contractor and director failed to train injured workman to CISRC scheme

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Posted on 10th July 2017

WORKPLACE MANSLAUGHTER OUTCOMES SET TO RISE

Guidelines target gross negligence with serious disregard and cost-cutting

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Posted on 7th July 2017

WORKMAN BURNT CLEANING WITH FLAMMABLE LIQUIDS

Flammable substance and unprotected electrical equipment trigger flash fire

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Posted on 7th July 2017
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