Are You on The Safety Teat?
A short while ago I was helping an associate fill out a third party platform for Safety, lets call the platform DN4. DN4 is both a software application and a supposed new design in how safety should be reported. My work was as an advisor to an organisation, for the purposes of this blog let’s call them MightyGood Constructions, has a fully accredited system of safety (ISO45001) from a respected certifying body. So, shouldn’t this make things a doddle? Surely if you are following the Legislation, Regulation and are compliant with ISO450001 all should be good to get on with the job? Apparently not.
By the time I was called in to help MightyGood had been ordered to get on the DN4 program including numerous add-ons and systems that required further paperwork. Apparently, this was needed to gain work with some of the nation’s largest companies. All of this third party system and accreditation was sponsored and endorsed by a National safety body, let’s call them AustraliaWide. This is where their accreditation hit its first hurdle.
MightyGood was required to change their safety system to match AustraliaWide concept of safety. AustraliaWide outsourced the work as they didn’t have the expertise but still managed to have a say on how the work is carried out. No problems with the work or the way it was carried out, just the way it was reported.
MightyGood was asked to sign up to DN4 safety platform to ensure that they met further requirements. Given that MightyGood follow that Act, Regs and CoPs, have already a third party accreditation that is recognised internationally, what use could another level of paperwork compliance bring? To add ignorance to insult, MightyGood was asked by DN4 to change their system that had become a requirement of AustraliaWide. Confused? You should be! I was brought into this confusion by an anxious client who was now being told it had to comply with a 4th tier of safety management system in order to be safe and in order to get further work? Just put that idea on hold for moment.
Let’s ask another question. Why is it so easy to sell safety to organisations that are already flooded with safety and already fully compliant? Who would ever think that more paperwork would make one safe? I think you might know the answer for that. I think it has a lot to do with Fear and Anxiety. ( https://safetyrisk.net/anxiety-and-fear-professionals/)
Fear and Anxiety that you do not have enough safety paperwork or safety systems will always keep you at the Safety Teat, sucking away happily, engorging yourself on yet another level of compliance to satisfy another organisation that has no Skin in the Game (Taleb). And this is what third party platforms do, they keep you at the Safety Teat.
These third party platforms for safety and compliance are designed to be perpetual and ensure that you are spending your $afety dollar$ with them. Their investment in websites, interconnected systems and processes reads like a pyramid selling scheme.
Bounded Rationality ( https://safetyrisk.net/bounded-rationalityhow-can-too-much-safety-be-bad-for-you/ ) teaches us that humans can only handle so much paperwork. Once we add another level of compliance to and already overloaded system, we add nothing to the whole. Indeed, such overload creates dangerous and more worrisome cultural by-products more dangerous than ever.
So, I had a look into one of these third party platforms (DN4) and it didn’t tell us who their experts were, what branches of study they have undertaken, never meet you face to face, never travel to site, have never met your organisation, and do not tell us what level of accountability they subscribe to.
So why do we put faith, money and time into something that doesn’t add to the whole? They don’t even have any legal standing!
DN4 is a national company. AustraliaWide is providing work for hundreds of people. And I am forced back on to the Safety Teat. I must eat, the hundreds of workers must eat, but we are all being told to Suck It.