Comments

  • Docu-Dramas
    I agree - I watched the programme over the weekend, and it was clear from both the director / producer statements and the content itself that it was not the full story, and any storyteller will always have a particular perspective to present. But it's an interesting example of some of the challenges we face when trying to understand and manager risk.
  • HS Reps - Allowance / Payment for services
    It could work for the HSRs to have specific measurable goals - individual and team goals, aligned to the organisation's overall H&S goals, with some sort of celebration activity such as a meal or morning tea, with an accompanying programme for the CEO to recognise individual and team achievements.

    As an aside note, the leadership training I've had noted that the most effective recognition is personal and specific, delivered from the person's direct manager, and generally emphasises appreciation for specific work done. So if the manager can personally, specifically and authentically THANK individuals and recognise their contribution in a meaningful way, that should have the most powerfully positive effect. And interestingly, that would also cost the least!!
  • Laying charges against officers: a useful strategy?
    Boards and senior managers definitely need to learn more about what actually constitutes "due diligence" and how to go about effectively conducting a sound due diligence review. There doesn't seem to be a lot of useful resources nor people who genuinely understand and know how to go about it (a great opportunity for you, perhaps?).

    It seems there is the interesting conundrum about how we don't know what we don't know, and opportunistic consultants (including lawyers) will happily take an organisation's money and offer assurances yet how does an organisation know how to select advisors on such subjects when they know so little about it themselves, especially if presented with a slick sales pitch? :chin:
  • HS Reps - Allowance / Payment for services
    As adults in pursuit of 'mature' approaches to safety management systems, isn't there a potential hypocrisy of using 'rewards' to gain engagement - essentially offering bribes as extrinsic motivators - as compared with developing workplace culture that people WANT to be part of, and offering the opportunity to participate in something meaningful, worthwhile, that gives them something back in terms of their own personal and professional development? Wouldn't organisations be more likely to attract the right people if the motivation was intrinsic and came from resonance with what the organisation is trying to achieve for workplace safety?
  • Laying charges against officers: a useful strategy?
    It's good in theory, but such a move may well have the effect of further focusing Officer attention on avoiding legal liabilities (i.e., jail and fines) rather than genuinely addressing workplace safety needs, which typically manifests itself in micromanagement and interference with safety management activities. It also does little to build the foundations of trust so sorely needed to gain genuine traction in workplace safety.
  • Docu-Dramas
    My colleague has recommended "In a Flash" - the story of the Tongariro tragedy at Mangetepopo Hut. My colleague highlighted a few key points that stood out for him, including the fact that the group went out that day because they had 'nothing else to do' so they didn't need to be there anyway, and he said the teacher didn't want to try another route out because she had not yet been 'signed off' for it.

    "This emotional, original drama tells the true story of the six Elim College students and their teacher who tragically lost their lives in a flash flood at Mangatepopo Gorge in April of 2008."
    https://www.tvnz.co.nz/shows/in-a-flash
  • to ISO or not to ISO
    This is why standards are best thought of as a checklist to guide development of an effective management system, rather than a template for what should be in the system. Unless the systems are tailored to suit the needs of the business and its stakeholders, and if the sections within the standards don't align neatly and continuously, it's pretty much a wasted effort and false sense of security.

    In the past, I worked for a company that had been certified to ISO9001 based on a Quality Manual that essentially reflected the standard rather than the organisation. A "consultant" had worked with the Technical Manager to develop the system, but the whole thing was based on the standard rather than on the business, the organisation and its people. They could not relate to the abstract and generic language of the standard, and no one had adapted or translated it in a way that could be relevant to stakeholders. The whole exercise had clearly been carried out solely to get the tick of approval from their customers. In fact, on my 4th day in the role, I arrived at work to find a Telarc auditor waiting for me. No one had told me there was going to be an audit, and there were no managers on site that day! So instead of an audit, I had quite a heart-to-heart with the auditor.

    I always think of the standards as being more of a "back end" kind of tool, used by the compliance manager and senior management team to check that they are on track with meeting the standard, but we should not be pushing them out on stakeholders in their raw or even partly-digested form.

    A colleague developed a really simple framework to incorporate ISO9001 and any other standards into a coherent framework, including assessment of performance using the principles of the Balanced Scorecard. I managed to convince the management team to change tack and set up their system using The Business Highlighter by Annabel Mitchinson, a former Telarc auditor and business consultant. The principles allow you to incorporate any / all chosen standards into a single purposeful and coherent system - including the Business Excellence Framework (which is probably now superseded by more recent versions of the ISO standards) and Investors in People.
  • Hand Sanitiser
    Hand sanitizer is only needed when a person can't access hand-washing facilities. You can minimise the risks and save money as well by promoting effective hand-washing and hygiene processes.

    You need to check composition and claims of any non-alcohol hand sanitizers. Many are effective at killing bacteria but not verified as destroying viruses. We also looked more closely at a hand sanitizer being promoted as killing 99% of all germs and viruses and discovered the active ingredient was a substance used to sanitize hard surfaces, and which carried warnings about being a skin irritant!

    So as in all things, conduct appropriate due diligence.
  • Using Social Media Platforms for Engagement
    It might be a good idea to survey potential users - my partner has joined the many people fed up with Facebook's political dealings and some of the very polarised and nasty interactions that seem to be escalating. I know of a number of people who have already deleted their Facebook accounts and I am very close to doing the same myself.....
  • Can workers refuse to declare health changes?
    PS - We were able to agree for him to return to work on restricted duties while his back recovered and also to avoid causing injuries to his knees while he was waiting for replacement surgery. In many ways, we really turned around his attitude toward the company as well, so he was a lot happier to work together with us when it came time for his knee surgery.
  • Can workers refuse to declare health changes?
    I am reminded of an injury management challenge some years ago when a 62 year old factory operator strained his back, went to his doctor and got a certificate for time off. The Operations Manager and I rang to talk to him, and the worker was very hostile and didn't want to talk to us. He didn't want to come in to meet with us. When we offered to come to his house, he said he would set the dogs on us! I suddenly remembered advice from negotiations training and remembered the tip for breaking a stalemate - I asked him what it would take for him to talk with us. He asked if he could have his union rep there, and of course we said yes.

    When he finally came to talk with us, we eventually unravelled the defensive "firewall". He was going to have knee replacement surgery in a few months, and with that and his age, he was very afraid that the manager was just going to fire him and get someone younger and more fit to do the job! After his initial adrenalised and defensive response subsided, he also eventually admitted that he has been suspicious because of how managers in the past had treated him.

    That's a slightly long story, but here are some of the most important lessons I learned from that experience:
    - Find out what's behind the person's resistance - it's usually much deeper and more complex than it looks on the surface. In general, everyone is trying to get some need met - find out what the real need is, rather than guessing or projecting. And don't judge - there will be a reason for their perspectives. Sometimes it can even be a situational distortion due to fear and the adrenaline it generates.
    - Don't take it personally - sometimes people are actually just venting and often just acting on past experience that has nothing to do with you. It only becomes personal if you make it so.
    - If both parties adopt a fixed position, the discussion is very likely to get stuck. Among the principles of my own training is the maxim that the party with the most flexibility / adaptability will ultimately prevail.
    - If negotiations get stuck, ask the other party what they need and work on a solution from there.
    - Sometimes it takes a bit of time, discussion and various iterations to resolve an issue - be patient, and stay present. As long as you are still in the conversation, you can still influence the outcomes.
    - Listen with the intent to genuinely hear the other person and work together for a win-win solution.
  • What value do we put on a life?
    I'm sure most people would find it a very different conversation to talk about theoretical illness and deaths compared to a discussion about their own or a family member's illness and death. Priorities have a way of changing when it becomes personal. :wink:
  • Can workers refuse to declare health changes?
    Don't people like bus drivers, pilots, etc have to undergo mandatory regular health checks? How are those managed?
  • Dr Carl Horsley on Safety-II in healthcare
    How do you think the experiences of getting through COVID-19 and Whakaari will shape future perspectives on risk management?
  • Dr Carl Horsley on Safety-II in healthcare
    It's great to see you are thinking about designing processes to optimise handling complexity. What do you do to prepare the people themselves to deal with complexity and risk, especially when under pressure?
  • I've been thinking...........
    One of the factors behind the 'herd mentality' arises when people don't have a clear understanding of a requirement, can't or won't delve into it to determine what it really means or the purpose for the requirement, so I have observed that many will look around to see what other people have decided and just jump onto that bandwagon without any proper due diligence or sense-making. I saw this all the time when ISO9001 was being introduced in NZ, and so many management systems ended up with overly bureaucratic systems that still missed the mark of achieving management control of a process.

    Zero Harm, just as Zero Defects did before it, made it unacceptable to get any outcome other than what you intended, which completely stifled the learning process and effective communication.

    You are right that the majority of advice given did not specifically mention the responsibilities individuals have for preventing the spread of COVID-19. My employer's Managers' Guides and company communications to employees included mention of worker responsibilities, and along with all the work we did to meet MPI requirements to continue operating as an essential business, the company also required each worker to make a declaration that they would adhere to all the MPI requirements, including social distancing and maintaining a separate 'bubble' at home as well as at work. We also emphasised that anyone who felt unwell should contact their manager and discuss it, and the instructions to managers was that anyone who felt unwell or anyone who met criteria for a suspected case should stay home and contact their manager ASAP. We had a couple of people who were sent home for illness and we required them to get their doctor's advice on testing - they were tested and found negative. We also put in place a return to work interview and declaration form, to give us a formal opportunity to assure ourselves that anyone who was off sick for any reason could return safely. We also clarified options for leave very early in the piece. Our managers and admin people mostly worked on site because we felt it was more fair to the workers who did not have an option to work from home, and so we could be there to support them. That also meant we were all keeping more connected and keeping an eye on everyone's mental state throughout.
  • I've been thinking...........
    I sincerely hope that once we have worked our way through this experience there will be more deep and meaningful discussions about risk and risk management. Risk is a fact of life; optimal outcomes are never 100% certain. There are enormous gaps between individual perspectives about what is 'reasonably practical' and some people's apparent aims to have 'no risk', which leads to a lot of confusing and contradictory messages (just like we have seen from the whole COVID-19 experience).

    In addition to the conversations about risk, we should also be talking about personal responsibility and accountability, for the managers who are charged with the responsibilities to lead and make decisions, as well as the individuals who participate in business activities.

    We can't expect hard lines or 'black or white' answers, because there are so many possibilities of contextual factors, but ignoring individual responsibilities (including the impact of one's own attitudes and actions), abdicating responsibilities, adopting an overly controlling authoritarian approach or taking a laissez-faire approach - none of those will fix what has long been broken in the way we approach workplace safety matters.
  • Grant Nicholson on Covid-19 and the law
    My employer has continued to operate as an essential business with strict protocols set by MPI to allow our operations to continue. We have taken the requirements seriously, especially for social distancing, which has led to several warnings to individuals for flouting these. I'm just wondering how well aligned ER will be with H&S and government's requirements during the state of emergency and lockdown requirements?
  • Grant Nicholson on Covid-19 and the law
    What will be the legal position when parents are expected to return to work and they either don't feel it is safe for themselves, or they have concerns about their children going off to daycare or school, or if their children's school is not going to be open, and they don't have any paid leave options, so their household finances are already under strain? I know we can't expect the whole economy to just 'restart' at the flick of the switch - will there be some leeway for parents and families?
  • 28 Days Later - Just Curious.
    We have actually had very good attendance rates throughout this period, along with record volumes - my employer provides logistics services to keep supermarkets supplied with fresh produce, so not only can people clearly see the essential nature of this business; they also recognise that they are very fortunate to still have the opportunity to work. The distribution centre managers are all a key factor in this, as are members of the team at all levels. We acted early and proactively, communicated clearly and often, and reinforced the health and well-being aspects first and foremost. Everyone has been quite amazing and very supportive with getting things done.