“My Defining, Best and Most Challenging Events in 4 Decades in Safety”
This is the 5th in the series by the late George Robotham, who’s work you would be very familiar with if you are a reader of this blog (Read all of his articles HERE) and you will know what an enjoyable, no punch pulled and valuable read this book will be (see the Table of Contents and extract below).
Other free Ebooks in the series:
George’s first FREE EBook: Guidance for the beginning OHS professional
George’s second FREE EBook: Broader Management Skills for the OHS Professional
George’s third FREE EBook: What It Means To Be An OHS Professional
George’s fourth FREE EBook: Lessons I Have Learnt about Management, Safety, Life and People
Introduction by George
I am indebted to Dr. Robert Long for helping me develop the focus of this e book. After nearly 4 decades in OHS I have had a number of best events and a larger amount of challenging events. What follows is critical reflection on my personal experiences in safety; comment is sometimes given about what I learnt as the result of the event.
This is the fifth of 5 safety e books, the first is Guidance for the beginning OHS professional, the second Broader management skills for the OHS professional, the third What it means to be an OHS professional and the fourth is Lessons I have learnt about management, safety, people and life.. The papers: What makes a safety management system fly, 30 ways to stuff up a safety management system and What you Need to Know about Health & Safety Leadership” have also proved popular.”
Table of Contents
B. My defining events
C. Best Events
1. Internal Standards of OHS Excellence
2. OHC Change Project
3. Geoff McDonald
4. Analysis Reference Tree-Trunk Method of Personal Damage Occurrence Investigation
5. Critical Incident Recall
7. Access to Earthmoving Equipment
8. Force-Field Analysis
9. Supervisor and Manager Safety Training
10. Job Safety Analysis
11. Hazard Identification / Risk Assessment / Hazard Control Training
13. A Learning Revolution
14. Hazard Control Model
15. Appropriate Self-Disclosure
16. Reflective Listening
17. Reflective Journal
18. Implementation of an Office Based Safety Management System
19. Project Management
20. The Best Safety Leader I Have Worked With
21. General Norman Schwarzkopf
22. Lock out Project
23. Confined Space Project
26. Interpersonal and Communications Skills
27. The Real World
D. Challenging Events
1. Lorraine’s Story
2. The Reversing Story
3. The Snake Story
4. Tom’s Story
5. The Electrician’s Story
6. Anne’s Story
7. The Oxy-acetylene Equipment Story
8. The Moura Disaster Story
9. Kinetic Lifting
10. Induction Training
11. Commercial Safety Management System
12. Safety Training Generally
13. Safety Committees
15. Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate
16. Behaviour Based Safety
17. Management Commitment
18. Safety Incentive Schemes
19. Zero Harm
20. Confined Space Work
21. Construction Safety Management Plans
22. Drink Driving
23. Risk Assessments
E. Something to finish up with
B. Three (3) Defining Events
Early in my safety career I experienced 3 defining events.
At one organisation the production manager and I reported to the location manager. I had a lot of support from the location manager whereas the production manager and the location manager frequently clashed. There was a safety issue that I could have handled better by involving more people in my decision making process. The technical basis of what I did was sound but I did not explain it to some of the stakeholders. The production manager blew the issue out of all proportion, tempers got flared and there was a lot of noise. When the fuss had died down I quickly and easily resolved the issue by working with one of the production manager’s direct reports.
I could not understand why the production manager got so excited over such a minor matter. One of the other managers told me what was really happening was the production manager was taking an opportunity to get back at the company manager by pointing out my mistakes.
At another location I used to run a 2 day accident investigation course with the central theme that personal damage occurrences (Accidents) were the result of People, Machine and Environment essential factors. I emphasised there was a lot more to safety than blaming the people.
A new manager started whose focus was finding out who was to blame for accidents and kicking their rear end. My training, while technically sound did not go over very well with him and he complained very loudly to senior management. There was a great deal of excitement. He displayed considerable inflexibility in his approach and was eventually told by senior management to pull his head in. My manager made it clear to me that he expected me to keep doing what I was doing.
At another location the manager the site OHS person reported to contacted me because he was concerned about the technical basis of how the site safety person was conducting a particular aspect of his job. The manager had researched the issue to a certain extent, had his concerns justified but had no luck in getting change. I researched the issue very thoroughly and forwarded the results to the manager. The manager then requested I visit the site and influence the site safety person.
I had a large pile of well researched information to prove my case but the site safety person would not shift his approach. I later discovered he spent a fair bit of time piling crap on me to anyone who would listen. He amused people at a meeting of all company safety people by saying my definition of a reasonable man was one who agreed with me.
As a relatively young OHS person I came to the realisation that no matter how technically sound your approaches, the people issues can bring you undone.