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clane  
#1 Posted : 28 April 2021 14:15:47(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
clane

We have roughly about 20 or so internal standards which are essentially "how to do" pieces of information. These are not RAMS just guides basically about best practice. These encompass everything from working in an office, to lone working, to DSE, to h&s on site etc. 

We've always adopted the approach that the line manager should identify which standard will apply to each individual (not all apply to all staff) and instruct them to read and familairse themselves with it, they have never been made mandatory.

We've tried to engage staff through various means to encourage them to read these standards, we've created mini 10min sessions led by line manager related to standard to make the topic more fun, (bingo, who wants to be a millionaire, you get the picture), we've created a monthly online quiz with prizes which people can enter, we've created time sensitive forced log on's which direct people to standards when starting their computer, to date nothing has really worked.

I've just completed an anual review of staff who have read applicable standards and the percentage has come back at a meagre 18%. At what point do we move away from the carrot and start to use the stick? Is this approach ever acceptable? We spend a lot of time and effort to engage staff for little return. Running out of options. Thoughts? 

Thanks in advance

peter gotch  
#2 Posted : 28 April 2021 17:43:53(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
peter gotch

clane - is that 18% who say that they have read all the standards that apply to them or 18% who have actually read and assimilated the content?

You say that the "standards" are not mandatory so why would you even be considering a "stick".

Why not look at this an entirely different way and do an audit of what your staff do and their understanding of how to do it to the actual standards of health and safety that you would expect?

You might find some shortfalls; equally you might find that for some tasks the staff have found ways of doing jobs so as to achieve better than what is set out in your "standards".

It's very unlikely that any of your staff actually want to be injured or face ill health as a result of their work. 

If you ask THEM how they think the jobs should be done, perhaps you could come up with some working rules that they will engage with, support and suggest improvements.

Might not even need a "carrot" just mutual trust to mutual benefit.

thanks 4 users thanked peter gotch for this useful post.
johnc on 28/04/2021(UTC), clane on 29/04/2021(UTC), DavidGault on 30/04/2021(UTC), GemmaW on 04/05/2021(UTC)
andybz  
#3 Posted : 29 April 2021 06:03:47(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
andybz

I agree with Peter about you needing to consider different explanations for the current situation.

Your description of the standards seems to be a bit muddled, which may be part of the explanation. Standards are usually intended to say what has to be done, not how. If they really set out best practice it is likely that they are impractical to apply in the real world, unless you have designed everything to allow best practice to be followed. If they are a guide they cannot be mandatory.

Based on my experience elsewhere I think the lack of interest is probably because people do not find them useful. If that is the case, you are probably directing your effort in the wrong place.

thanks 1 user thanked andybz for this useful post.
clane on 29/04/2021(UTC)
clane  
#4 Posted : 29 April 2021 08:54:16(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
clane

Our standards outline what we think is the best way to get a job done taking everything into account. They were created to help people with their everyday work activities. They do not set out a defined way of working as such but more of a "these are the things you need to consider" approach. As somone said it might be that somone has come up with a better way which we recognise might be the case sometimes. We don't make them mandatory because we do not want to be an organisation that forces h&s on their staff but rather encourages and promotes the benefits of engagement.

Thankfully no one has ever suffered an injury as a result of not reading and understanding a standard, this is more of a gripe about staff simply not being bothered. Hence getting 2/3 questions everyday from staff about xyz topic that they could easily find if they read the bloody standard in the first place.

Thank you for your useful suggestions and thoughts on the matter. I guess their is more than one way to skin a cat. How we communicate this information to our staff and how we try and get them to take it on board needs a bit of a rethink and a different approach. 

Kate  
#5 Posted : 29 April 2021 10:56:36(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Kate

Another way might be to ask them for feedback on the standards.  This might prompt some of them to read them as well as possibly finding out their views about them.

andybz  
#6 Posted : 29 April 2021 12:22:15(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
andybz

Clane. Thanks for the extra information. It sounds like you had good intentions with the standards but obviously they have not had the impact you hoped for (yet). I think you need to be open to the idea that they need to change. I would pick one per month and discuss it with employees at the worksite to see what they say.

thanks 1 user thanked andybz for this useful post.
clane on 29/04/2021(UTC)
achrn  
#7 Posted : 30 April 2021 08:25:47(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
achrn

FWIW, we have what sound like very simuilar documents, but we call them 'guidelines' and they have a 'GN-' document number.

So our hierarchy of docs is policies - procedures - guidelines.  The procedures say what you must do, and the guidelines say how you should (normally) do it.  Our internal auditors audit against the procedures, but what people generally actually do is in the guidelines.  If you work according to the guideline, you'll satisfy the procedure - so in that respect theyare effectively internal ACOPs.

I must admit I've never specifically surveyed how many people say they have read (start at the beginning, read to the end) the guidelines, but actually, if they are doing the job right it doesn't much matter if they are following the guidleine because they read it in the GN-HS-123 document or whether they are doing it that way because that's how they were shown / told / trained to do it.

Alabaster  
#8 Posted : 30 April 2021 21:40:34(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
Alabaster

"Our standards outline what we think is the best way to get a job done taking everything into account."

Close the gap between what you think is the best way and what workers know is the best way. Do the workers really need the guidance? they may know the job better than anyone, or may not. Typically any form of guidance or reading material longer than several bullet points is not going to be read. 

Why not utilise technology, think outside the box and create some interactive workshops or live demos of the experts doing it right. 

Avoid quizzes, prizes and anything cheesy... 

thanks 1 user thanked Alabaster for this useful post.
kmason83 on 05/05/2021(UTC)
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