H&S is "strangling business": how best to respond?
We do it to ourselves - business is not a benevolent society and we must work to achieve business' goals, not to achieve our ulterior motives. And we cannot keep on hiding behind what others - the Regulator, a Standard, a 'pre-qual' organisation - say we need to do.
The heart of the 'problem' is that we define safety by its antithesis - what safety is not. Safety is NOT the "absence of injuries" ('go home uninjured at the end of each day'), safety is "ensuring that things go right". If we as professionals made this our motive, we will not be called 'stranglers'. We will be called 'contributors'.
My elevator-speech proposal: "We will work harder to make sure we enable people to do things right and/or for things to go right, from every possible vantage point. We will use the full toolbox of methods, systems, and even tricks at our professional disposal to achieve this"[/i].
If we can find, develop, discover, fabricate, design, steal, beg or borrow a better way of enabling people to do things right, we will do so. Not because some new-age 'regulator' wants us to sign our names each time we hold a toolbox meeting, but by removing all things that gets in the way of people doing things right. Things like over-the-top rules, procedures, documentation, instructions, interferences. Furthermore, we will be searching for solutions to problems that gets in the way of doing it right, providing guidance, resources, organisational climate, resolving conflicting goals. We will be managing change so that the new is not distracting us/hindering us from doing things right. We will do our best to ensure that the organisation gets the opportunity to learn.
We can add to this list - as long as we keep our eye on the ball ... business is interested in getting things right. So should we be. Business should not understand/recognise better what we are doing, we must recognise what they want: doing things right!
And deliver that.