• Laying charges against officers: a useful strategy?
    There is also a significant difference between directors of small organisations who are very hands-on and those of larger businesses that are operating a genuine governance model. I believe the officer duties were intended to emphasise the latter, but the Australian experience has been almost entirely owner-operator type convictions. I imagine these are easier to make stick.
    I would rather see an educational strategy first. Looking at most boards, there is a significant lack of people with detailed operational knowledge, let alone specific safety knowledge and, related to @Sheri Greenwell's comment above, almost every board went to lawyers to understand their obligations, rather than safety specialist to understand how to get better. The IoD guide has a very good set of questions for officers to ask, but no real guide as to what a good answer looks like.
  • Mental Health / Wellbeing Policy
    We have used this model as the basis for our wellbeing approach - it has been very well received so far and is a finalist in the Diversity Works awards
  • Legality on company ToolBox Meetings
    I assume you mean "not a legal requirement" rather than "not legal"?
    Some previous discussion here
    There are requirements for making people aware of hazards etc. A toolbox talk is one way of meeting some of these obligations, so it is a bit more complex than whether it is or is not a legal requirement.
  • What value do we put on a life?
    It's a very interesting question and far too complex for simple numbers that governments try to put on things.
    Risk is highly subjective. If we put a multi-million dollar cost per life when thinking about medicines for example, things get very costly. Latest figures (2017) gave about 25000 new cancer patients in NZ. Admittedly not all will be at risk of death, but you could suggest that untreated, they may all be. At $4m per life that is $100bn which is four times the health budget - just for cancer patients (this is obviously over-simplistic). You can do similar numbers looking at the NZTA spend against 350 fatalities per year. Individual projects stack up, perhaps, but a higher level view may not.
    But if you look at a probabilistic analysis, a widely used 'broadly acceptable' limit for workers is 1 in 100,000 risk of fatality per year. A cost benefit analysis would suggest $4m is too low. In my view, anyway, but as I say, it is very subjective.
  • Dr Joanne Crawford on links between musculoskeletal & psychosocial risks
    Hi Joanne
    I'm interested in the direction of causality - it's easy to see how MSDs could lead to mental wellness issues, particularly if they are chronic, but less obvious how it might work in the other direction. Is there definitive causation, rather than just correlation and does it work both ways?
    Also (bonus question), what impact do you imagine the double whammy of covid-19 stress and poorly designed home-based workstations may have - how should people manage that with their workers returning to the office?
  • H&S Health Check
    Hi Amy
    Find someone who knows what they're talking about and invite them in for a fact finding discussion and then a review of effectiveness. Once they know what you do and what you intend, they can select a framework to do it. Any worthwhile auditor will be able to draw on a range of sources plus their own experience to give you an indication of what you're doing well and where you could juice things up a bit. In my previous role I developed this process although here it has been co-opted by the asset management team. The first two steps mean that the actual review is targeted on what you need rather than wasted spending time reviewing a list that some committee thought up without any context.
  • Grant Nicholson on Covid-19 and the law
    What is the balance to be struck between the risk to our individual employees, which may be extremely low given the likelihood of transmission in their area/job, and that of the broader community which may be much larger, when we're considering what is reasonably practicable?
  • Hillary Bennett on responding to mental harm as we do to physical harm
    Hi Hillary
    We are often asked to demonstrate progress for the initiatives we put in place.
    How can we measure improvements (or not) in mental health?
  • Craig Marriott on developing an effective H&S strategy
    Thanks everybody - great questions.
  • Craig Marriott on developing an effective H&S strategy
    I enjoy the ambiguity and grey areas. There is no right answer, despite the way many people have approached safety as a compliance issue. I guess this is a nice way to close the strategy discussion as well. There is no right strategy. Some are more successful than others, but often you won't know until later. It's messy, it's uncertain, it's complex. A lot of people struggle with that because they like certainty but I would be very bored, very fast in a certain world. Safety captures that complex stuff really well and that keeps me challenged.
  • Craig Marriott on developing an effective H&S strategy
    @Jon re frequency rates
    I have replaced it with a simple graph of incidents occurring broken down by potential harm. Those which were high potential get a detailed review in the monthly report. It’s a rolling graph so we can see if they’re increasing or not without putting a number to it, because I’m interested in direction of travel not absolute numbers. I’m also tracking effectiveness for critical risk controls. I changed our reporting template with a Board paper explaining the rationale and there was no pushback. I’m also looking now at ways to get better information coming through from the field and reporting on that – see the sensemaker tool from Cognitive Edge as an example.
  • Craig Marriott on developing an effective H&S strategy
    @Jon's advice question
    On a personal level, be bolder. I’m naturally introverted and it took me a long time to learn how to assert myself in meetings etc. Not sure that’s very strategy-related, though. On a professional level, be prepared to challenge convention. As safety people we all challenge the ‘I’ve always done it this way and never got hurt’ answer. But I think we need to turn that type of challenge on ourselves more.
  • Craig Marriott on developing an effective H&S strategy
    Hi Emma See my earlier response to Russell. I believe most senior leaders genuinely care. It takes a while to educate them, though, that compliance and counting may not be the best way to do this. I think that this education is the key factor. Unfortunately, the most effective tool in practice is a bad accident. Sometimes a very high potential near miss is a good lever, but please don't try to engineer one!
  • Craig Marriott on developing an effective H&S strategy
    @Robert P
    Lots of questions here - see my earlier reply about the role of the leadership in setting strategy and worker input. Keep the conversation going and help them understand their role in delivering the strategy that is relevant to them – I wouldn’t expect them to know the whole thing, but would like them to be able to talk about their components of it.
    Partners – yes if they are embedded enough.
    I don’t believe there is too big a tension between compliance and progressive practice if it’s all done well. WorkSafe is moving in the right direction, I think, to help with this but their job is not easy. I wrote a blog about this here
  • Craig Marriott on developing an effective H&S strategy
    To Chris
    A bit of both. Regularly review and tweak (although most tweaks will be to the shorter term actions rather than the strategy itself) and then a more detailed review every year or so. I would only advocate a hard re-set (by which I mean completely changing things) if there is a major upheaval in the business environment. In terms of KPIs, be very wary about the behaviour they drive. On the whole, we have indicators, but not targets. These help you steer without biasing the direction.
  • Craig Marriott on developing an effective H&S strategy
    To Jon’s covid-19 question. We are moving into thinking much more about complex systems. Our overarching strategy suddenly just becomes recovery + adapt to the new normal. There are many interlinked factors and we cannot honestly predict how it will go. We are currently developing different broad scenarios and high-level approaches against each of them so that we can respond to whichever arises. It’s about putting in things that are resilient and agile. It’s a great case study for bad strategy – if you project ahead and fix on an outcome to move towards you may get it hopelessly wrong and fail spectacularly.
  • Craig Marriott on developing an effective H&S strategy
    Measuring strategy can be hard because it’s long term. You need to understand clearly what success looks like for each objective and set this out at the start. That is where you’ll agree the value and whether it is worth the effort. When you break it down into shorter term actions, line these up with your overall success measure. Review the strategy routinely and make sure you’re still on track and that the objective is still valid and providing value in the renewed context. You may well have to change direction if, for example, a pandemic disrupts everything.
  • Craig Marriott on developing an effective H&S strategy
    How to answer that in one paragraph? Thanks, Jon!
    Least helpful to me is the accident triangle (or at least how people have interpreted Heinrich’s original work and used it). It has driven obsession with counting and focusing on low risk issues. The most helpful is probably the underlying theme of several different, and newer, schools of thought which is to put the worker at the heart of H&S and better understand their reality.
  • Craig Marriott on developing an effective H&S strategy
    Your headline strategy information should be simple to understand because it’s at quite a high level (if you have a multi-lingual workforce, do some translated versions). The key thing is to link the strategy to the work people do so it is clear why it matters to them. If your strategic objective is to reduce paperwork (hint: do this), it will be fairly obvious. But if it is to increase technology use, this may be less clear, so show them what it means to have a virtual reality version of their workplace.
    Afterwards, keep the conversation going – when people make suggestions, raise issues or ask why we do things, look at how it links to the strategy and discuss it in those terms so their understanding grows over time.
  • Craig Marriott on developing an effective H&S strategy
    I always make sure there is a really clear alignment between the safety strategy and the overall business strategy – how do they help and support each other? How will the strategy we are developing make the overall business better? But the real key is groundwork with them before the strategy is developed. I spend a lot of time emphasising the link between safety and business. The underlying aspects of good safety also support good quality, reliability, efficiency and profitability, so safety is effectively a health indicator for business performance.