Depositphotos_8171991_s-2015I have been involved with safety in Australia for the past 10 years. In that period I would like to think I have grown and learned, or would it be better to say tried, to understand what drives and motivates people to do certain things.

I’ve heard on several different job sites I have been on that we have to do this or that so that we can stay compliant with the safety rules, to meet KPI’s or to try and achieve an unrealistic target of Zero Harm. Where does compliance fit with this? If I write a Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) for a high risk job and the workers sign on and use it and someone gets hurt is it because they did not comply or it because I did not understand the task and wrote the SWMS from my desk – so it was me who did not comply?

If we are to use a number to measure safety then would we first need to know what the exact number for human failure is? We are not perfect so there will be failures. If this is unknown then how can we comply with a number that has been conjured up by someone from behind a desk who thinks we have to do better? Who is this magical person that can transform humans to become perfect?

Then we have the golden rule and everyone knew what that was but it just did not make us compliant so now we have life saving rules that consist of 8 or more rules depending on the company. These they say are non-negotiable. What is meant by that would make some people wonder. What will happen if you try to negotiate one? So if the other rules can be negotiated then why do we have them?

How is one to comply when things are changing constantly or when some things can be negotiated and some things cannot?

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