• Don Ramsay
    87
    Good morning all, I have just spent a good part of yesterday and this morning reading a SSSP and it is 98 pages of nothing. I say that as they have put in everything known to man and most of it is not relevant to the site. ( they have cobbled all references that they could muster then included the company risk register - all of it) Are we creating large documents that people are not reading and if something does go wrong will not hold up under scrutiny? Do not get me wrong I do believe in the existence of the SSSP and its correct use but I am seeing more often generic documents that have a lot of information, the impact is that workers just sign them because they take too long to read.

    I would be interested in any other experiences with SSSP documentation
  • Robb
    35
    The solution to poor SSSP's is in the documents name.
    Focus on the first two words, "SITE SPECIFIC". If an SSSP turns up and is not site-specific (filled with any amount of generic b******t), push it back and ask for a safety plan specific to your site - an SPSS!
  • Stephen Small
    14

    Robb you absolutely nailed it with "SITE SPECIFIC"
  • Don Ramsay
    87
    totally agree and this is the document supplied by the principal contractor that we are working for
  • Cathy Knowsley
    5
    My question would be why are the workers reading and signing off on an SSSP?
    If it is for worker consultation purposes it's a bit late as the mitigations are already decided on. If it's a means to pass on crucial safety information then it is one of the most ineffective avenues to use, and I doubt them signing off on this will pass any "all practicable steps" litmus test for risk management.
  • Kevin Foster
    3
    Hi Don, We use SSSP but as its been pointed out by Robb, its site specific but forms a critical part of the agreement between parties and outlines how risk will be managed on a job. It shouldn't be a blow by blow account on how everything is done. Remember GSMEAC?
  • Linley Kerr
    4

    Site Specific - Exactly! When creating our SSSPs, we do try to include only project/client specific details, and provide other safety documents/processes as required, as separate documents. We are, however, constantly being asked to add policies and procedures to our SSSP by clients trying desperately to fulfil their duties, perhaps without knowing quite how, so trying to tick every box in the book.

    I have been asked to document within the SSSP, that a copy of said SSSP will be made available on site. I've been asked to change the wording of a sentence and the layout in our H&S Policy, I have even been told to add WorkSafe's complete segment on notifiable incidents, and 'our' process to notify WorkSafe of notifiable works.

    One SSSP ended up going from 16 pages (including site specific evacuation plans) to 162 pages after almost 2 pages of spreadsheets requesting management processes, including requiring our full subcontractor prequalification process.

    Sadly this ends up with many companies starting to send out these massive SSSPs, such as Don has received, so they don't have to keep going back to add more things. On the receiving end, I have had one sent to me from a contractor that was 150 odd pages - nope, didn't read it, sent it back.

    Robb - I really like your SPSS idea, I wonder if the change of title would help :)
  • Andrew P
    8
    This is something that frustrates me to no end when the main contractor asks for a SSSP for us to do work (as a cabinetmaker) on their sites (so not high risk, and no heavy equpiment). As I see it, whoever is in charge of the site is generally in charge of the safety overall on the site. As a smaller contractor I need their SSSP not them needing mine. I need to know what rules hazards etc are in place on site, not come up with my own plan that is totally different to theirs!
    To me they are mostly a waste of time, or not used correctly, or they are not what their name suggests as noted above.
  • Mark Kenny-Beveridge
    36
    Yes agree. I believe somewhere along the line people have confused a Safety Management System with a SSSP. Often I see it used a company A wants to ensure company B has safety processes, and people think the SSSP supplies this.

    Personally, I think it should have information relevant to the Emergency procedures on site, i.e how an emergency is broadcast and what actions required on broadcast, site specific critical hazards/hazardous areas and Key personnel on site for help
  • Linley Kerr
    4

    Agree totally. If our team are in charge of a site, then a subcontractor normally needs only to provide any relevant JSA, training records, and hazardous substances/materials details. They then work under the ONE SSSP, where all this information from each subcontractor is compiled together for a full picture of what is happening on the site.
  • MattD2
    237
    We are, however, constantly being asked to add policies and procedures to our SSSP by clients trying desperately to fulfil their duties, perhaps without knowing quite how, so trying to tick every box in the book.Linley Kerr
    Is this how we have lost our way?

    Possibly the problem is that we are not really clear on what we should be being specific about?
    Two causes of less-than-useful SSSPs I have typically come across are:
    • "Specific" is interpreted as identifying all risks that could ever perceivably be present and providing details how these will be controlled. However this usually runs into the issue of too much information needing to be recorded and so the controls are then generalised to statements such as "wear PPE" or "read the SDS" to save on space, which results in SSSPs that are actually not specific at all.
    • For the sake of efficiency the main body of the SSSP is a standard template that does not get (or worse is not allowed to be) reviewed or revised to be specific to the contract (save changing the contract name, location and personal). Which has created inconsistency/ambiguity where multiple companies are interacting together on the same work with different actual expectations - main contractors, clients, designers, MSQA consultants, subcontractors, etc. (i.e. the opposite of 3Cs).
    Instead should we actually be considering that the specific of the SSSP is that the SSSP is an agreement between a specific client and specific contractor for how work for that contract will be suitably managed (i.e. planned, resources, executed, monitored). Understanding that both the client and the contractor (and others) have their own processes for safety management and so the SSSP must be a merger of these systems, and will look different depending on which contractor and which client is involved. As part of this agreement certain high risk work specific to the contract works can be discussed and expectations for how that work will be managed during the contract can be agreed between all parties involved.
  • Sheri Greenwell
    290
    One of the challenges with SSPs and JSAs is that too many organisations REQUIRE them but then tick the box that the document has been received without ever actually reading it!

    In one place I worked, a contractor wanted to go up onto a roof to do a particular task involving an aerial. He tried to beg off the JSA / risk assessment requirement, first trying to argue that he was only going to be up there for a minute or two. Then when I insisted that he complete a risk assessment for specifically what he wanted to do. Then he tried to plead helplessness - this was a longstanding maintenance contractor to the organisation! So I wasn't buying that either. Then the operations manager suggested that the contractor could work with another contractor whose specialty was working at height. So that contractor presented me with a risk assessment, but when I reviewed it, I discovered it included a number of references to tasks that were not relevant to this particular work activity, which I pointed out to him and queried. I was quite astonished at his response - he told me it was good to find someone who actually READ the document!! *smacks palm to forehead in deep dismay!*
  • craig christie
    11
    Sadly too many providers do not understand Site Specific. We will not provide generic rubbish information regardless of scope of works. SSSP needs to be accurate to the site and supported by an accurate safe work method statement detailing clear risk assessment and scope of works with those performing the task
  • MattD2
    237
    Sadly too many providers do not understand Site Specific.craig christie

    Is it that they don't understand, or that in the past they have been asked for so much extra generic information to be included in the SSSP by clients that they now take the path of least resistance?
  • MattD2
    237
    Reading the replies on this thread one would have to wonder if were we ever in agreement on the actual purpose of a SSSP in the first place?
    Which is like a lot of "safety documentation" - we all refer to our understanding of a particular type of document with a generic names like SSSP, or JSA, or SWMS, etc. but when we start to talk about specifics is starts to get fuzzier rather than clearer.
    To that does anyone have a definitive source on what we should be exactly be talking about when we say SSSP?
  • craig christie
    11
    I think the least resistance is pertinent and lack of understanding that there are no 2 sites exactly the same.
  • Sheri Greenwell
    290
    Yes, along with reluctance to carry out their own risk assessment because they don't fully understand it, and / or are not confident to do it themselves, and they are worried about the potential consequences of getting it wrong - yet another reason not to use fear to force compliance because of unintended consequences as byproducts.
  • craig christie
    11
    Fully agree Sheri. Sadly consult and cooperate is rare. Rather a bigger emphasis on shifting risk
  • MattD2
    237
    Sadly consult and cooperate is rarecraig christie
    Agree with that Craig - it's not often you see good quality consultation even with employees, with contractors we seem to be even more engrained in the command and control mentality.
  • Tony Walton
    116
    Agree with your views on this topic MattD2. It's motivated me to get around to designing a template to manage and record the consult, co-operate and co-ordinate process on who is in the best position to manage which hazards.
  • Don Ramsay
    87
    Hi Kevin GSMEAC truely applies in this case
  • Kevin Foster
    3
    Mate I had no idea you just lived up the road. Have to org a RV at some point.
  • Chris Hyndman
    55
    Our expectations on what a SSSP can deliver should reflect the opportunities we have given the contractor to gather information about the specific site.

    All too often they're requested far too early into a project and without the contractor setting foot on site. The best we can hope for in this instance is a very generic and off-the-shelf plan.

    It will also result in the contractor attempting to cover all bases by throwing pretty much every H&S document they own into the SSSP for review.

    I'd also add that reviewing a SSSP is not a one time job, nor can it be done solely from behind a desk. Ongoing reviews to see how plans are developing during the project will give a real sense of whether the SSSP is just a piece of paper or a living and breathing document.
  • Steve H
    220
    with contractors we seem to be even more ingrained in the command and control mentality.MattD2

    Nice summation Matt :up: Our approach to preparing an SSSP was to start with a basic generic form and flesh it out at the time of induction onto a new site. It's your workplace, you tell me about the dangers I'm going to encounter here, and how you've found they are best controlled.

    Using that as a basis, we would do our thing and as we went around I would review the "draft" SSSP and add/amend as necessary (if it was going to be an ongoing job).

    When we started using them back in 2009, we encountered a high degree of suspicion and reluctance from site foremen/ project managers initially when we asked them to sign off on them, but this thawed after a bit and gradually, we would be asked for them
  • Don Ramsay
    87
    Sure thing probably when the levels get down a bit
  • Nancy Robbie
    1
    I can so relate to a lot of the comments, especiialy Linley Kerr's. I totally understand Don Ramsye's frustartion but we also as a sub contractor have been continuously asked for more and more detail and been asked to change the wording of our documents etc. Our SSSP is 46 pages long and that is not including what we have referred to as an Appendix covering Covid 19 protocols. It does seem to be a tick box excercise for some but actually appreciate feedback as it means our SSSP has been read which is great. An issue I find a lot is getting 100+ page documents from head contractors that are site specific however not work specific. What I mean by this is that we are often asked to sign off that we will abide by these documents when there are pages of procedures for the Site Manager that are not relavant to us and pages of our legal obligations which we should all know by now anyway. Also there is a lot of paperwork that comes from head contractors where we have to get our guys to read and sign. I udnerstand the reason for this however, we attend many sites in a day for short durations and thus due to the shear quantity I know they won't read it so what we do is I read the documents and pass on info only where it differes from our procedures which works I guess so this is a minor issue but not ideal as they are signing that they have read it. The covid 19 protocols is a good example of another issue I encounter, CHASNZ and Site Safe have done a great job of writiing protocols however we quite often get documents stating we must abide by the CHASNZ documents which is great as this is what our procedures are based on but it is then followed with 50 pages of protocls from the head contractor reitterating the CHASNZ protocols instead of just adding protols that differ from the CHASNZ protocols only. My husband is a marine engineer and they use the permit to work system and sub contractors that go on board when the boat is in dock have to see the person on site/boat responsible for health and safety and get inducted and do a task analysis on boarding the boat. The reason I like this method is not only that it reduces the paperwork but it also puts health and safety where it should be, right up front, and forces the worker to think critically about their own safety which of course does still have to be backed up by their company procedures.
  • Scott Williams
    14
    To that does anyone have a definitive source on what we should be exactly be talking about when we say SSSP?MattD2
    Hi Matt,
    While not exactly what you were asking for, if you're a NZISM Member, there was recently a discussion on a similar topic. The answer is "unlikely".
    Webinar was called: Fact Or Fiction Series With Chris Peace - Session 7: What Is A Safe System Of Work?
  • Scott Williams
    14


    Hi Don, I'm jumping on this band wagon very late, but...

    A SSSP may need to be Site Specific, but I believe construction is exceptionally poor at understanding the Context of the Organisation. This idea is from ISO 45001, but one sentence sums it up for me:
    The organisation shall determine external and internal issues that are relevant to its purpose and that affect its ability to achieve the intended outcomes of it health and safety management system.

    As you can see from everyone in this thread, we don't produce good SSSPs where the organisation focuses on internal issues. Inside the fence, inside the hoarding, inside the site boundary.

    We are terrible at looking at external issues. A recent site were I had to read their SSSP ignored external issues - they were literally next door to a school, a hospital, a library, and many other high-foot-traffic buildings.

    100 pages of SSSP, not one mention of at risk groups in their vicinity that have to interact with their impacts of their site everyday, i.e. footpath disruption, traffic management, noise pollution, etc..
  • KeithH
    94
    Here in NZ, internet published guides for SSSP contents appear to be the likes of govt departments - Ministry of Education - and Councils - Auckland Council. These appear to draw on the information from SiteSafe.

    The best available from overseas is from INGAA in the USA.

    My ramblings
  • Steve H
    220


    Good point Scott, in at least one instance company has been prosecuted for causing a member of the public's death when his wheel chair flipped while passing a building site where the foot path had been damaged by heavy vehicles entering a construction site.

    The company failed to address what the Judge described as an obvious potential issue (in this instance both the principal contractor and the sub contractor that caused the damage were fined).
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