Saturday, May 30, 2009

Global economic impact on SA Construction

This video interview was published in the Engineering news today and it would do all safety practitioners good to view it. We all know that safety is the first to go when there is a money pinch - now is the time to get that thinking cap out and start working on some innovative ways of ensuring that your safety gives you the edge in what will become a cut throat competition for local work. Budgets will be cut and tenders trimmed - the squeeze will be on the worker, who will have to absorb the unnecessary exposures created by this competitive environment, unless you are ready to market health and safety as a viable, profit generating part of your organizations setup, or will you simply step back and give up? At Inga Health and Safety people are our passion and we can assist you to maintain your momentum and safety growth through this period of uncertainty. Let us help you to keep your safety journey on track.

Failing to embrace health and safety standards

In South Africa we continue to kill workers on a shockingly regular basis, even though we have adopted and adapted some of the worlds best standards. The question must be why are we continuing to fail in our attempts to embrace these standards and make them work in our unique environments? We need to become pitbulls - continuously pushing for best practice, and by that I dont mean researching it but actually making it part of how we operate on a day to day basis. When it comes to safety South Africa is still reactive, avoiding safety as an active part of our corporate governance. We talk safety first and insist that communication around safety must be improved, but we fail to realize that the best form of communication is action: What are we doing or seen to be doing? Do we close areas of our works down to mitigate factors which may lead to serious injury or death timeously, or do we just continue to wait until we have killed someone? The time to act is now- stop planning and strategising, start implementing so that we no longer have to export or buy products tainted in the blood of fellow workers. Follow the 20 steps to success and make a difference today

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Impact of economic crisis on safety performance

Are you already seeing a negative impact on your safety performance (increased incident ratios) or will we only see this as a long term impact of reduced maintenance and health and safety training?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Health and Safety Program effectiveness

In the course of the next couple of weeks I am going to evaluate the typical components of a health and safety program, looking at those aspects which make them work or make them fail. In this article I am going to take a closer look at: THE EFFECTIVENESS OF LEADERSHIP I happened to read an article published in the Mining weekly in which an executive member made the comment that when it comes to safety management are set up to fail. He justified this statement by saying that it was not always possible to put safety first due to the stringent production requirements in the market. Firstly: If we stopped putting safety first and started making it part of our operation we would reap the rewards at all levels - and provide stakeholders a return that wasn't tainted with blood. Secondly: If this is still the attitude we have at senior level - then maybe the next fatality should be in the boardroom. 1. Management demonstrates no policy, goals, objectives or interest in safety and health issues in the work place. 2. Management sets and communicates health and safety policy and goals, but they remain detached from all the health and safety efforts. 3. Management follows all the health and safety rules, visibly supporting the health and safety efforts of others. 4. Management participates in the significant aspects of the site's health and safety program, such as inspections, incident reviews and program reviews. Incentive programs that discourage the reporting of incidents, other symptoms of deficiency or hazards may be present. 5. Site health and safety issues are regularly included on the agendas of all management operational meetings. Management clearly demonstrates, through direct involvement, there commitment to the fact that health and safety is of primary importance on the site. there performance is consistent, sustained and geared at continuous improvement. Where are you on this journey?

Monday, May 4, 2009

Health and Safety a reluctant portfolio

This appears to be a problem mostly amongst SME's (Small to Medium enterprises) and is clearly related to three specific issues: Percieved cost of implementation, ownership and a failed ability by the legislator to enforce the requirements. Although we cant change the manner in which the legislation is managed, we can incorporate the self regulatory intentions of the legislator into how we do business. Don't wait to be policed, rather invest and ensure you have a system working for you. Health and safety is only costly if we implement it in a haphazard and after the fact manner. By doing this we allow ourselves to be guided by big business or consultants, who have no insight into how we manage our core business, often resulting in the development of costly short term solutions addressing external concerns rather than our own opportunities. Legislation can and should be built into every aspect of our business. The following 4 aspects are critical to our business continuity and form the basis of the legislation: Identification of exposures; assessing these exposures; developing controls to reduce the likelihood of them materiailizing or mitigating there impact and finally communicating the exposures and controls to all persons involved in our operation. As you can see the management principles are no different to those of any other discipline within your organization. Make safety part of how you do business. Its only costly when you have to do it to satisfy the needs of others. Being a consultant myself I dont want to say we are not needed, but would rather like to say we often sell our services for the wrong reasons. My goal is to provide support, allowing you to develop and sustain those 4 key aspects as an integral part of your business ethic. Our goal should be to reach a point where we are no longer dependent on each other, you for compliance, me for an income, but rather interdependent where we are sharing ideas and cultivating a culture where the ability to perform safely is determined by our efforts to provide a safe environment in which safe decisions can be made. Only once we have all realized that health and safety is an integral part of our core business will we be able to take ownership, and unfortunately we will only see a return on our investment if we embrace this ownership. How many safety plans have you had developed by an outsider for a specific project? How many deals have you lost because you have failed to display health and safety ownership? How many costly incidents could have been avoided because you ignored these 4 aspects? What are the top 5 exposures of your organization and how are you addressing them? How can you take ownerhip of your Health and Safety?
  • Understand the legislation. (Take the time to read it - its common sense)
  • Identify your exposures. (At least the top 5)
  • Assess these exposures. (What can you do to remove or reduce these exposures)
  • Include these control measures in your operating methods. (Make it part of the task)
  • Document and communicate these exposures and control measures.
  • Make the implementation of this process part of your management responsibility.
Don't put your safety in someone else's hands - it could be fatal and most definitely will be costly.