• Lee Keighley
    12
    I'm interested to hear the views on non-negotiables or golden rules or other descriptive words for construction companies? Do other companies have them? Do they work? How do you promote them? Are they needed? What would you use as headings? How many non-negotiates or golden rules are too many?
  • Andrew
    174
    There should be zero "non-negotiables"

    Employers and employees are required to deal with each other in good faith. This means they both must treat each other with trust and confidence and deal with each other in an active and constructive manner. And this requires communication.

    Blanket rules and non - negotiable's are totally at odds with these requirements.

    As an aside I so often see the platitude "safety is non-negotiable" while at the same time see numerous safety related clauses in employment agreements.
  • Craig Marriott
    60
    Generally speaking I find them patronising, a huge over-simplification of issues and a convenient tool to blame the worker for incidents. We have removed ours and replaced them with a set of principles that talk about how we will work and also give some pointers to focusing on critical risk areas. It's been extremely well received by the field teams (especially as they were developed in conjunction with them).
  • Lee Keighley
    12
    Thanks for the feedback. Maybe they need another heading? Maybe non-negotiables is the wrong wording. Set of principles? Is this the name of them?
  • Craig Marriott
    60
    I'll message you separately rather than get into lots of detail here.
    My thoughts on rules in general - https://www.safetydifferently.com/rules-who-needs-them/
  • MattD2
    39
    Thanks for the feedback. Maybe they need another heading? Maybe non-negotiables is the wrong wording. Set of principles? Is this the name of them?Lee Keighley
    As you mentioned in the OP, Golden Rules / Life Saving Rules / etc. have been a typical approach by many construction companies. A director of one company I know that is involved in the construction industry (but not an actual physical works company) was keen for years to develop a set of Golden Rules for the company, but it stagnated as it didn't really fit with the ethos of company as a whole... so what happened was when the push for Critical Risks emerged in the NZ Safety Industry they intertwined their Top 10 Critical Risks with a set of their Top 10 H&S Behaviors - which is similar to what @Craig Marriott mentioned above.
  • Chris Hyndman
    31
    I suppose it depends on the context of the rules.

    Non-negotiables have there place for life threatening scenarios (Work at height, confined spaces etc), but maybe not so much for lesser scenarios such as parking, holding handrails etc).

    As for the naming of these rules, well good luck with that, maybe this is something the workers can help with.
  • Andrew
    174
    As an aside we have changed all our Position/Job Descriptions so that they no longer list skills or tasks. The focus is now on required behaviors we expect to be able to observe in carrying out a job. The basic premise being skills we can teach - but its "behaviours" where the real problems lie.
  • MattD2
    39
    Is one of the common behaviours listed "if you think you don't have the skills to do the job, tell you boss so someone can teach you"
  • Andrew
    174
    No. A few reasons for that. We essentially hire people who have the competencies to do the job. Eg forklift operators who can see (thus negating the need for others to wear high viz)

    That said, we can not always hire for a 100% skill match so we have to train to bridge that gap. If it was a safety critical gap then we, generally, wouldn't hire. (Eg we wouldn't hire a blind fork lift operator).

    And when it comes to lists (like a list of behaviours) we broadly limit it to around the five most important ones. Otherwise you end up with a list of 100 behaviors - and no-one can do all 100 so a long list just becomes distraction and noise.

    Within our broad culture we also expect every person who sees/has a problem to raise it, and raise it early when its little so it can be solved. People see this in action in our safety advocates (not "reps"!) meeting minutes where every single issue raised, no matter how "trivial" will have a resolution. We accept some may not like that resolution - but at least the issue is always addressed.
  • Chris Hyndman
    31


    As an aside we have changed all our Position/Job Descriptions so that they no longer list skills or tasks. The focus is now on required behaviors we expect to be able to observe in carrying out a job. The basic premise being skills we can teach - but its "behaviours" where the real problems lie.

    Interesting comment Andrew, is this any different to saying that people are the problem?
  • Andrew
    174
    I'm a contrarian here. And will go out on a limb.

    People are nearly ALWAYS the problem.

    You just have to be able to identify who the problem makers are.

    (But we need a separate thread for discussion on this view)
  • Chris Hyndman
    31


    Ha ha, well let me know when you start that thread, I'll put on a hard hat and join in on the debate!

    Being true to my shop floor working past, I have found as a health and safety professional that the problem makers are those who don't accommodate for the fallible but predictable nature of workers (including policy writers). For every behaviour there is an antecedent.
  • Michael Wilson
    44


    Hello Lee,

    I have inherited some. They are key messages to highlight the major hazards e.g Never approach operating equipment without contacting the operator.

    I would have worded some a bit differently if I had made them, but generally they are pretty good. They will form the basis of our behaviour based peer assessments. Feel free to email me and I'll send them through.

    I have to agree to a certain extent that variation is crucial for successful work. Work to rule is a protest after all.
  • Sheri Greenwell
    99
    Anything purporting to represent Values will ultimately fail if imposed from the top down - workers will always look for examples where your own behaviours and actions don't match your rhetoric, which will result in losing credibility and trust.

    "Agreements" generally work better than "Rules" because workers generally place very high priority on having a say in matters affecting their work (and there is a famous leadership study that verified this - I just don't know the specific details).

    Smart organisations facilitate dialogue and discussion (this is what the regulations on employee engagement and participation aim to achieve, too), listen and respond to employees in meaningful ways. No one wants to come to work and be treated as if you were a clueless child being ordered around by an authoritarian parent!
  • Chris Hyndman
    31
    Non negotiable aren't just necessary, they are critical where high risk activities are taking place.

    Rules such as Confined Spaces must be monitored for safe oxygen levels prior to, and during, entry must forever and a day be non negotiable.

    However, the method of monitoring will be negotiable, as long as it meets the requirements and standards necessary.
  • John Easton
    8
    We are putting together a list of "principles/key messages" that we are calling STCKYs or stickies. Means S**t That Can Kill You* in consultation with our workers. This follows feedback that we received from H&S consultant that recommended dropping our "Cardinal Rules" for something a bit more meaningful for everyone and is more focused on managing critical risks.
  • MattD2
    39
    What about if there is no risk that (or reason why) the atmosphere inside the confined space will move outside of the normal range?
  • Andrew
    174
    Interesting example.

    Is that a safety " non negotiable" or essentially just a process requirement.

    Much like, say, in manufacture "Put the red conductor wire on the positive post". This doesn't give you an opportunity to put a black wire on, or leave the red wire off. Its just a simple task that must be done which contributes to a known outcome.
  • Chris Hyndman
    31




    It's just a hypothetical example gents, the point being made is that life saving rules should be set in stone (and backed up with more comprehensive instruction, training etc).
  • MattD2
    39
    but the problem is these types of rules do not consider the varibility of work, but the rules are still are set in stone - leading to practices which are purely ritualistic instead of risk mitigating... and if these practices are continued for long enough they become so entrenched that the purpose of the practice is no longer considered, and the culture becomes that "as long as we follow the rules, it should be safe"
  • Chris Hyndman
    31


    I'd agree if they were prescriptive enough to tell workers how to achieve a safety standard, rather than telling workers of the safety standard that needs to be achieved. They can be very useful in promoting the autonomy of workers by allowing them to be adaptable within clearly defined boundaries.
  • MattD2
    39
    but at that stage are we not just talking about identifying risks and development of applicable controls for those risks, i.e. the basis of most H&S management systems?
  • Chris Hyndman
    31


    A H&S management system cannot simply identify risk, it must always evaluate it as part of an assessment process.

    Suggesting that a rule can replace this process is certainly not where I have pitched my examples, nor do I wish to elevate the rule to an adequate-in-isolation risk mitigation status.

    A well engrained "rule" is an effective means of informing workers of a mitigating control that was crucial in evaluating an inherently high risk down to an acceptable residual risk.

    When used in the right way, the non negotiable rule is an effective means of highlighting where workers should pause and confirm the presence of safety before carrying out an otherwise high risk activity.
  • Annalisa
    17
    Hi Lee, Hynds did some good work on Golden Rules, they were Overhead loads, Drugs & Alcohol, Machinery and Guarding, Working at Height, Exclusion Zones, Traffic events, Loading & Unloading, Electrical Safety & Isolations, Stacking & Storing , albeit slightly differing from soley being construction I'd put Fire/ Hot works in, could even add Bullying behaviours if appropriate.
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