Risk Based Safety Management – When Two Worlds Collide
A few extracts from the article:
Australia enjoys a raft of multi-tiered sets of safety legislation, from the Federal Model WHS Act which has been adopted by the majority of the States and Territories (with very minor adjustments), through to the aged and parochial flat earth style of safety legislation of Victoria and Western Australia – which is actually half decent legislation and all it really needs is to be vigorously enforced.
Added to this, in their respective jurisdictions, are the various suites of safety legislation that encompasses rail safety, mine safety (including coal mine safety), marine safety and offshore oil & gas safety. There is road transport safety – with very few of the jurisdictions singing off the same hymn sheet, and let’s not forget the suite of dangerous goods safety instruments – just to add a bit of zest in case you were flagging.
All of the above legislation has a commonality of purpose on the Stakeholder’s Duty of Care insofar as is reasonably practicable – and there lies the rub, for that is where the commonality between the instruments of law ends.
What is reasonable and practicable to one person is not necessarily reasonable and practicable to another
Psychologists keep confirming this; even learned Judges acknowledge that they themselves interpret law differently to each other at times (which is why we have such a robust and enviable appeal system).
Whilst it makes sense that the people best suited to assess and mitigate risk are the business owners, managers and workers themselves, what has eluded successive Governments is that each individual assesses and deals with risk differently – on every level.
So whose assessment is reasonable and practicable, and what level of risk is reasonable and practicable?
Are our Regulators and our Workplace Managers on the same planet, or world’s apart?
If this is the case, and there are some jurisdictions that seem to confirm this scenario, where does it leave the honest contractor and their workers? If the honest contractor and their workers are left to the mercy of the whim of the mining operator’s risk appetite, with no recourse or protection from a Regulator, how long before the workplace descends into a veritable bloodbath where only the fittest, or the most desperate will survive?
read the whole article here