Why have OHS

George’s Safety Reflections

Why have OHS

The first fatality I was associated with occurred over 30 years ago to a young, vivacious, pleasant female office employee at a mine site. I was the first on the scene and comforted her as she drifted in and out of consciousness. She died the next day, such a waste!

Since then I have assisted my employers manage the aftermath of 12 fatalities and 2 other incidences of permanently life altering personal damage.

There are many reasons to have OHS-

  1. Sure we want to obey the legislation and keep the regulators off our back
  2. Sure we want to have a good company and industry reputation to attract employees
  3. Sure we want to reduce safety related industrial disputation
  4. Sure we want to reduce the financial costs of “accidents”
  5. Sure we want work to be a pleasant place to be
  6. Sure we want a highly skilled workforce

As an OHS professional I have had to deal with the emotional trauma of life altering personal damage and interacted with loved ones and co-workers. For me the prime reason to have OHS is to-

REDUCE PERMANENTLY LIFE ALTERING PERSONAL DAMAGE

This is referred to as Class1 personal damage and can be fatal and non-fatal. Whilst we rarely get to hear about it the impact of non-fatal class 1 damage is much higher than fatal class 1 damage

I would be the first to say there is a lot of bull-dust associated with implementation of safety initiatives. In my time in safety I have seen companies spend tremendous amounts of time, effort and money on dubious safety programs and get little return for their investment.

The challenge is to design your safety programs so they meet the specific, identified needs of your organization.

Discussion on a Canadian safety forum came to the conclusion that you would be lucky to prevent 20% of your ”accidents” if all you did was comply with legislation

I think one of my ex-managers said it well when he said “If you cannot manage safety you cannot manage”

Note

My attempt to give advice on how to achieve my objective can be found in the e-book Safety Management Systems under articles on www.ohschange.com.au

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