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wardy  
#1 Posted : 22 January 2021 19:26:15(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
wardy

Why do so many involved in health and safety management bury themselfs in paperwork instead of getting down at the sharp end to see what realy happens?

Edited by user 22 January 2021 23:01:51(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

peter gotch  
#2 Posted : 23 January 2021 13:59:48(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
peter gotch

Hi Wardy

Sometimes because they are playing Safety by Numbers and/or making sure that all their ISO accreditations are in place, or they are going for yet another ISO.

Safety by Numbers includes producing graphs that, hopefully (from the perspective of those producing them) show a downward trend in incident rates, with lots of tried and tested ways of making the graphs look better if things go astray. Rarely does this process consider occupational health risks, since the ill effects are usually yet to be observed.

Safety by Numbers can also count some"leading indicators" such as the number of Observation Reports, hazards identified or whatever one wants to call them. Here, the objective is the reverse. Looking for an increasing trend, but what gets measured gets done. So, if the boss wants more Observation Reports they will probably get them. Whether the quality of reports improves is immaterial if the metric is simply numbers. So, it might be that those little things that used to get sorted and never documented are now the subject of Observation Reports before anyone thinks about sorting them (though it is of course possible to sort and report).

wardy  
#3 Posted : 23 January 2021 21:43:44(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
wardy

Blimmy Peter, I think you answered q my question in one.  Shame is, it dosent leave a lot of time for safety proper.  My point being, I can remember carrying out a survey on a very large company, had all the ISO's and documentation was perfect.  Went on the shop floor and the guys there didnt know who the health and safety manager was.  He had been there 3 years and never introduced himself to those at the sharp end, those that could tell him what was realy going on, too busy compiling paperwork.  I have so many examples of this, too many in fact. 

CptBeaky  
#4 Posted : 25 January 2021 09:02:34(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
CptBeaky

I would also imagine that it is a lot easier to do paperwork than it is to suffer abuse from the frontline everyday. H&S are rarely popular, and if you work for a company that does prefer paperwork over frontline intervention I suspect that attitudes towards H&S aren't pleasant if you talk to the actual workers.

Obviously this is not from experience........

thanks 1 user thanked CptBeaky for this useful post.
A Kurdziel on 25/01/2021(UTC)
wardy  
#5 Posted : 25 January 2021 09:19:11(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
wardy

Cpt, correct.  This is why so many in health and safety hide behind paperwork, its the easy way out.  It takes guts, determination and the right attitude to get out there and see what really going on.  Do that and your on your way to a safe working environment.  I have seen so many health and safety people vegetating in their office hiding from what might be happening.  

thanks 1 user thanked wardy for this useful post.
farrell1 on 25/01/2021(UTC)
declangibney  
#6 Posted : 25 January 2021 16:33:08(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
declangibney

I don't think either extreme necessarily represents the profession accurately. In reality, health and safety is a real blend of behaviour, process, records, procedures, communication and so much more. Success will never be found by concentrating on any one of those areas.

wardy  
#7 Posted : 25 January 2021 17:20:43(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
wardy

What many in this profession fail to consider is, the majority of employees are employed by very small companies probably employing 10 or less.  How do you expect these companies to find the time or resources to conjure up endless reams of statistics and put in behaviour programmes etc?  They can’t.  Its ok if you are working for a large company, have a couple of side kicks and a budget but think on, what about Joe Soap and his 6 workers?  They have no interest or idea about all the ISO’s, accident statistics and all the rest, they just want to do a job safely and go home at night in one piece.  If you look at any HSE advice it always says “Keep it simple” Never once have I read “Keep it complicated” which is what so many do.  Have a look on these forums and see how many quote regulations like they are going out of fashion, what’s the point?  You only need to know that for exams or to impress others.  I pay my TV licence, but I don’t know or need to know under what broadcasting regulations I’m required to pay.  Yes we need to know what regulations are in place, understand them and act upon them but that’s it, we don’t need to pock them down everyone’s throat, particularly the poor guy on the shop floor.  Keep it simple, it not rocket science. 

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