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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 PROSECUTE OVER POOR SILICA DUST CONTROL

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Posted on 15th December 2017

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Posted on 15th December 2017

BUILDING INFORMATION MODELLING AND CDM 2015

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Posted on 15th December 2017

STANDARD FOR SELECTING CDM PRINCIPAL DESIGNERS

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Posted on 12th December 2017

CONCRETE BATCHING PLANT OPERATOR FELL 5M

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Posted on 12th December 2017

FELLED TREE NARROWLY MISSED PEDESTRIANS

Video reveals that nearby motor vehicles were not so fortunate

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Posted on 11th December 2017

PRISON SENTENCE FOR SOLE TRADER CONTRACTOR

Client failed to appoint a competent contractor for roofwork

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Posted on 11th December 2017

HSE ADMITS BREACHING SECTION 2 HSW ACT

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Posted on 7th December 2017

HSE ENFORCEMENT WEEKLY UPDATE 6th NOV 2017

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Posted on 7th December 2017

NEW GUIDANCE ON SUCTION/VACUUM EXCAVATORS

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Posted on 7th December 2017

NEW RISK AND REGULATION RESEARCH INSTITUTE

HSE and Manchester University commit to new authoritative body

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Posted on 7th December 2017

MAINTENANCE WORKERS EXPOSED TO VIBRATION RISK

Housing Association failed control and monitor significant health risk

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Posted on 7th December 2017

OVERSEAS BASED FIRM FINED £3M AFTER DEATH

Principal Contractor put cost-cutting ahead of health and safety

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Posted on 7th December 2017

LIFE CHANGING INJURIES CAUSED BY STUDIO FALL

BBC Studioworks Ltd and contractors failed to ensure ‘basic safeguards’

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Posted on 7th December 2017

HIGHWAYS WORKER DIED DURING REPAIR WORKS

Signage, speed limits and effective temporary traffic management missing

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Posted on 5th December 2017

UNCONTROLLED RISK OF HARM FINED £200,000

Principal Contractor repeatedly failed to manage work at height

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Posted on 5th December 2017

HSE ENFORCEMENT WEEKLY UPDATE 29th NOV 2017

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Posted on 29th November 2017

FINGERS CRUSHED IN MANUAL HANDLING OPERATION

Firm failed to avoid manual handling task or assess and manage risk

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Posted on 28th November 2017

CUTTING THROUGH LIVE CABLE FINED £900,000

Equipment removed without effective checks on electrical isolation

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Posted on 28th November 2017

DESIGNERS AVOID HSE ENFORCEMENT UNDER CDM 2015

HSE find Designers and Principal Designers complying with CDM 2015?

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Posted on 28th November 2017

WORKER FELL FROM ASPHALT LAYING MACHINE

Improvised place of work leaves operator paralysed below the waist

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Posted on 27th November 2017

SOLE TRADER PRISON SENTENCE OVER ROOF FALL

Fall through fragile rooflight caused by poor planning and assessment

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Posted on 24th November 2017

MAJOR SUPPLIER FINED £1.2M OVER DRIVER DEATH

Delivery driver crushed by overloaded FLT at supplier factory premises

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Posted on 23rd November 2017

SOLAR PANEL BOSS SENTENCED WITH COMPANY

Director and company given hefty sentences over worker fall

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Posted on 22nd November 2017

BUSINESS LEFT LEGIONELLA RISK UNCONTROLLED

Effective management arrangements missing for tunnel wash

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Posted on 22nd November 2017
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