By Greg Smith. First published here: https://www.waylandlegal.com.au/blog/paper-safe
It seems to me that at some point health and safety management has lost its way. Rather than being concerned about protecting workers and others from the hazards associated with business, health and safety management has devolved into a self-perpetuating industry which seems to have driven a wedge between management and the workforce. Health and safety management has become synonymous with seemingly trivial rules and burdensome, never ending paperwork.
My book explores the question of bureaucracy in safety management. What is it, and how does it impact organisational goals for health and safety? The book asks what we can do to better understand and manage bureaucracy in health and safety,as well as steps we might take to reconnect management, workers and safety processes to the purpose of being safe.
I do not argue for a single answer. It seems to me that every approach, “traditional” safety, safety culture, safety I, safety II, safety differently, an engineering view, a psychological view, a sociological view or an anthropological view can be infected by bureaucracy. None of them are immune. All of them can be infected by the need to demonstrate compliance with the process instead of achievement of purpose.
I would not even presume to argue that what I offer in the book is right, or will work in your organisation. My ideas are just as vulnerable to the Safety Paradox (i.e. what we do in the name of health and safety can improve safety, but equally it can undermine it) as any of the ideas and concepts I talk about in the book.
All I would ask, if you do take the time to read the book, is you use the ideas in it to critically analyse health and safety in your organisation and challenge whether health and safety is more about demonstrating process (i.e. bureaucracy) than achieving the purpose (i.e. creating safe workplaces).
E-book versions of Paper Safe are available through Amazon HERE.
Paperback copies outside of Australia are also available through Amazon HERE.