Practical Guidance for OHS Professionals

Practical Guidance for OHS Professionals

Engineer, entrepreneur or architect woman shruggingBecause of the positive feedback from his Safety Reflections over the last few years, just before he passed away suddenly, George Robotham incorporated all of his work into this 60 page collection of essential reading for every Safety Professional, new or old. This stuff is based on practical, real world experience and I promise you will learn more here in an hour or so than in 4 years at any Safety University. I’ve only published the intro and table of contents but you can download the whole document here (now in Version 2 after a complete reformat by Louisa Chesswas) :

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In nearly 4 decades of involvement in field, corporate, project and consultant OHS roles I have had the opportunity to learn a variety of things. In this publication I have outlined generally 1-2 page thoughts on safety and safety aligned topics, with the aim of providing some brief guidance to the newly developing OHS professional. I believe I cover a fair bit of relevant ground. Whilst there is a smattering of theory in the following, most is based on practical experience. A strong message is that to be effective in OHS you need competency from other areas, as well as your OHS competencies.

Why read this paper? What will I learn? What is in it for me?

This paper will expose you to the sort of learning about OHS you will be unlikely to find in most tertiary OHS qualifications. It is focused on the real world not theory.

Introduction. 4

Why read this paper? What will I learn? What is in it for me?. 4

Why have OHS?. 5

Geoff McDonald. 6

Safety Myths. 6


Personal Damage Occurrence Investigation Models. 8

Analysis of “Accident” experience. 8

Access to earthmoving equipment 9

Critical Incident Recall 10

George’s Philosophy on Life, Work and Relationships. 11

Background to OHS. 16

Behaviour-Based Safety. 16

Role of the safety professional 16

Safety incentives. 17

Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate. 18

Alternatives to the hierarchy of controls. 18

Young worker safety. 20

Zero harm.. 21

Commercial Safety Management Systems. 22

Major mistakes I have seen made in implementing OHS. 23

The toughest safety assignment I have had. 24

How to have an effective safety committee. 25

Common law.. 26

Safety Benchmarking. 27

OHS tools for managing safety. 29

Job Safety Analysis. 29

George’s down to earth advice to safety representatives and safety committee members. 29

Risk assessment tips. 30

Accident investigation summary. 31

Auditing OHS systems. 31

Non OHS tools for managing safety. 33

Safety communications. 33

Safety culture. 33

How to improve safety culture. 34

Interpersonal skills. 34

Leadership. 45

Leadership quotes. 45

Military leaders on leadership. 46

OHS Leadership. 46

How to be a safety leader 47

References. 47

Leadership in safety-Ethics. 48

Leadership in safety-Trust 48

Learning. 50

OHS Learning. 50

Implementation of a learning management system.. 50

The use of Power-Point presentations. 51

Tool box meetings. 52

The use of humour 52

Safety Induction. 53

Human Resources. 54

Job interviews. 54

The resume. 55

Conclusion. 57

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George Robotham

George Robotham

George was a Legend in the Safety World who passed away in Sept 2013 but left us with a great legacy
George Robotham
I have worked in OHS for most of my working life, many years in the mining industry including over 10 years in a corporate OHS role with BHP. Since leaving the mining industry I have worked in a variety of safety roles with a variety of employers, large & small, in a variety of industries. I was associated with my first workplace fatality at age 21, the girl involved was young, intelligent, vivacious and friendly. Such a waste! I was the first on the scene and tried to comfort her and tend to her injuries. She said to me “George, please do not let me die” We put her on the aerial ambulance to Rockhampton base hospital where she died the next day. I do not mind telling you that knocked me around for awhile. Since then I have helped my employers cope with the aftermath of 12 fatalities and 2 other life-altering events. The section "Why do Occupational Health & Safety" provides further detail but in summary, poor safety is simply very expensive and also has a massive humanitarian cost. My qualifications include a certificate I.V. in Workplace Training and Assessment, a Diploma in Frontline Management, a Diploma in Training & Assessment Systems, a Bachelor of Education (Adult & Workplace Education) , a Grad. Cert. in Management of Organisational Change and a Graduate Diploma in Occupational Hazard Management. I am currently studying towards a Masters in Business Leadership. Up until recently I had been a Chartered Fellow of the Safety Institute of Australia for 10 years and a member for about 30 years. My interest is in non-traditional methods of driving organisational change in OHS and I have what I believe is a healthy dis-respect for many common approaches to OHS Management and OHS Training. I hold what I believe is a well-founded perception that many of the things safety people and management do in safety are “displacement activities” (Displacement activities are things we do, things we put a lot of energy into, but which when we examine them closely there is no valid reason for doing them). My managerial and leadership roles in OHS have exposed me to a range of management techniques that are relevant to Business Improvement. In particular I am a strong supporter of continuous improvement and quality management approaches to business. I believe leadership is the often forgotten key to excellence in most aspects of life. I hold the Australian Defence Medal and am a J.P.(Qualified). I have many fond memories of my time playing Rugby Union when I was a young bloke.

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