• Having an accident Investigation scale dependent on the event
    Hi Chrissy,

    I've created systems like this in the past, where the scale of the investigation is dependent on the specific incident.

    For me, the key is that the depth of the investigation is determined by:
    a) what the outcome could reasonably have been, not the actual outcome; and
    b) how much can be learnt from the event (not always easy to assess without getting into it though)

    It can be uncomfortable to spend a lot of time investigating an event when nobody got hurt, and even more uncomfortable to spend little time investigating something that did result in an injury - but sometimes that is the most logical approach! Otherwise, we are letting luck dictate how carefully we look at events. We end up spending tonnes of resource investigating things we have little control over and which are highly unlikely to cause harm in the same way again.... OR.... we end up overlooking high-potential events which we could learn heaps from, simply because luck smiled on us and thankfully nobody was injured. Lose lose.

    When it comes to deciding how much there is to be learnt from near misses, it can help to ask, "Did nobody get hurt [or was the harm only minor] because our controls worked effectively.... or because we were lucky?"

    I hope that is useful.
  • Occupational health nurses
    Great question!
    In my experience OHN's are largely used for health monitoring and not much else. I would love to hear more form OHN's about what they can offer. Some areas I think business I have worked with could utilise them to add more value could be:
    • Health promotion programs
    • Injury prevention programs
    • Involvement in change management (advising on health considerations and implications)
    • Educating employees about work-related health risks and controls
    • Return to work plans

    I bet there are heaps more!
  • Should fines be based on PCBU turnover?

    You summed it up perfectly!

    Something needs to be done differently, but I don't think this is the solution.
  • How does pay in H&S compare?
    'H&S Professionals' are a pretty broad group and I imagine this figure includes a wide range of H&S roles (and experience and qualification levels), from entry-level advisors, right up to multi-national H&S Managers. Without narrowing down the roles a bit more, I don't know how much we can read into this figure.

    Having said that, in my experience, it is highly uncommon for a H&S role to be paid as well as a role in other business functions (e.g. HR, production/operations, finance etc) requiring similar levels of qualification and experience.
  • HSR Training

    Hi Robyn,

    No, a H&S Representative (HSR) is not the same as an H&S Committee (HSC) member.

    An HSR needs to be nominated and elected by workers in their work group (they can self-nominate). This is because the key function of the HSR is to represent them [workers within their work group] on H&S matters. It needs to be someone they choose, who they trust and feel comfortable talking to. Having said that, the things you are doing sound like they are working and are a great start!

    I think the best explanation of participation etc. can be found in these guides from Worksafe (especially the first 3 pamphlets - they are clear and succinct):
    If you like reading, these two documents are excellent (though long):
  • Who influenced you?
    I moved into a H&S role through business necessity. I love learning and I saw it as an opportunity to learn about another business function, but to be honest, I was not expecting to find it particularly challenging or interesting.

    I went along to my first ever H&S course, Essential Skills for H&S Representatives, facilitated by Helen Mason. I remember I was dreading doing two full days of H&S training; I was half expecting to fall asleep.

    But at the end of the first day, I remember coming home and announcing to my husband that I had found what I was meant to do! Helen made it about so much more than paperwork and legislation. I realised that H&S was actually all about people, and this career path presented an opportunity to make a real and positive difference for others. My passion just grew and grew from there.

    The next big moment of inspiration came when I stumbled across the 'Safety Differently Movie' on YouTube. Sidney Dekker's work, and the Safety Differently principles sparked a lot of thought for me, and reignited my passion for H&S, and led to some pretty confronting reflections on my principles and practices!

    Shortly after discovering the movie, I went to a Safety Differently Masterclass facilitated by Daniel Hummerdal which was quite a revelation. Daniel was extremely inspiring and shined a different light on work and the role of the H&S professional. That course was a significant turning point for me.
  • A question from a newbie
    Hi Graham. I love Todd, and the concept of failing safely. His podcast is fantastic! I would suggest that a lot of H&S professionals are not on this bus yet (still stuck in the old compliance and people as the problem thinking) but going forward, this kind of thinking is what our profession needs. Check out for lots more interesting reading - you're heading in the right direction :)
  • ICAM Investigation Course
    Anyone done the one CECC offers?
  • chainsaws and dust exposure
    This is the perfect argument for exposure monitoring. Different environments, different chainsaws, different timbers, and even different operators and work practices are all factors that will affect actual exposure. Where there is any uncertainty about whether or not the WES may be exceeded you need to get some exposure monitoring done. If you don't measure it using credible methods - you can't possibly know what the levels will be!
  • Fingerless Gloves
    In most instances I find the argument about dexterity is actually just an excuse. Get the guys to put on gloves (good ones) and demonstrate the work - then you will see if it's a genuine issue or a copy out.
    If the issue is around wearing gloves near rotating machinery, you can get gloves which have fingers that tear off if they become entangled, to prevent pulling the hand in. Horses for courses - it's important to understand the true demands of the work.
  • Notifiable work - all contractors or only the main contractor to notify?
    Spot on - it only needs to be notified by one PCBU.
    The key here is the overlapping duties - the relevant PCBU's need to talk to one another and agree who is responsible for lodging notifications. All the relevant PCBU's should be ensuring the notification is lodged (whether by them or another PCBU), e.g. by obtaining a copy.
  • Clarification around imposing penalties to sub trades
    Well here's my two cents... @MattD2 has it spot on about PCBU's and workers.... so I won't add to that. But I think people are actually misinterpreting the intent of S27.

    To impose a penalty because a contractor is not fulfilling their H&S obligations under the law, or meeting your specific H&S expectations or contract requirement is not to impose "a levy or charge on a worker (or permit a levy or charge to be imposed on a worker) for anything done, or provided, in relation to health and safety."

    The intent of S27 is that workers cannot be levied for doing something they are required to do to meet the law or protect the health and safety of themselves or others. For example, a business cannot make the worker pay for training they need to undertake to do their work safely, they cannot charge them for the PPE they need for work, they cannot make workers take unpaid leave to attend H&S meetings or carry out their duties as an HSR etc. etc. It's about sh*tty companies not being able to penalise people for doing the right thing, not the other way around.
  • Loading Unloading containers
    In an ideal world, there would not be a need for this to happen... but we live in reality, not an ideal world. Work through the hierarchy of control, starting at the top, and talk to the people who do the work, to determine what is reasonably practicable.
    So far as managing the people versus machine risk, there are some excellent technological solutions available now. One option if that the workers wear a proximity sensor that communicates with the forklift, and if they come within a specified distance the forklift is stopped or the operator is notified by an alarm.
  • Construction Industry Mental Health Research - Thank you for the support - Data Collection Complete!
    Thanks Andy - I'm looking forward to seeing your research! What a highly valuable area to be working in.
  • Charging for pre Registration
    That sounds very odd Brendan. Are they assessing each individual? What on earth does that 'pre-approval' involve?
  • Risk Assessment Matrix
    Ahhh the beloved risk matrix... Imho, one of the least understood and most misused tools in the H&S toolkit.

    I do not believe a one-size fits all approach works when it comes to developing and using a risk matrix - but that is what tends to be done.

    Site Safe has created one, but it is open to interpretation, therefore, it my experience it is of very little valuable use. Much more instruction / explanation is required, along with personalisation to fit the specific risk appetite and procedure of the organisation.

    Some of the key issues I have with this example are:
    1. It says to 'consider the severity of injury/illness' - but is this the maximum potential severity, or the most likely severity? It does not say. If it's the maximum potential severity, then most work risks inevitably fall in the catastrophic or major category (as worst case scenario for even a minor trip hazard could be a head injury, a broken neck, or death - rare yes, but 'possible' if we are thinking maximum potential). On the other hand, if we look at the most likely consequence, hazards with catastrophic potential can be underestimated simply because the likelihood of the catastrophic outcome is low. Critical risks can be inadequately identified and managed in this instance.
    2. The descriptions of the examples given for the severity options create a focus on 'safety' rather than health (or any other type of risk for that matter, e.g. financial, environmental, reputational etc.).
    3. Without specific guidance, likelihood is massively open to interpretation and the influences of individual bias. Arguably, even with guidance, there is still room for this, but being so ambiguous just worsens the issues. What one person thinks is 'likely to happen' based on their personal experiences and perceptions, could be considered as 'unlikely to happen' to another person. Who is right? How do we get consensus?
    4. We assess the risk... and then WHAT? As Chris pointed out, this example does not include any actions or implications related to the outcome of the risk assessment. There is no determination of what is an acceptable level of risk.

    Anyway, I've taken up enough space here. I'm very interested in this though - keen to see what others have to say. I have rarely come across what I would consider to be a good risk assessment.
  • s44 Prosecutions
    I'm pleased to see I'm not the only one thinking about this. It seems highly unlikely that none of the prosecutions to date involved a breach of s44, so I would be interested to know why WS has not been pursuing them and if this is likely to change in the future.
  • Sharing health and safety documentation with your team members
    Hmm, I imagine any document is going to be difficult to look at on a phone, regardless of what app or programme is opening it. I find my customers use iPads or other tablets for on site documents just due to the screen size.