“Risk Makes Sense” Book Review

Review of the Robert Long book Risk Makes Sense

by George Robotham

See more details about the book HERE

In my view this book is a substantial addition to the body of knowledge about Risk and OHS. Written from a psychological perspective it puts into print many of the things I have figured out for myself through many years of OHS practice. It reinforces and goes further on many things my mentor Geoff McDonald has taught me over the years. Geoff comes from a mechanical engineering and psychological perspective.

Early in the book Long explores the various myths that surround Risk and OHS, these myths influence our beliefs about how personal damage occurrences (Accidents) occur and our perceptions of those involved. He questions the fervent belief some have about Zero Harm approaches, I am with Robert on this.

There is mention of the stupidity of over complex and long S.W.P., examples are given of where people crave risk. It is suggested removing all risk by complicated safety approaches may not always be a good thing. There is discussion on language and culture as it applies to risk.

The deficiencies of the L.T.I.F.R. are mentioned. The Can-Do mentality as a contributor to risk in Australia gets a touch up. The K.U.T.A.(Kick Up The Arse) approach gets a special mention.

The section on learning covers some of the ground I covered in my Adult & Workplace Education tertiary education but goes further. Given the difficulties of overly long induction sessions and death by Power-Point I found the induction scorecard interesting.

I found the section on Cognitive Dissonance a bit heavy going but still valuable.

Having researched leadership widely myself I found valuable material I had not come across before in the leadership section.

I would have no hesitation recommending this book to OHS / Risk Management professionals.

George Robotham, Certificate IV Workplace Training & Assessment, Diploma in Workplace Training & Assessment Systems, Diploma in Frontline Management, Bachelor of Education (Adult & Workplace Education), (Queensland University of Technology), Graduate Certificate in Management of Organisational Change, (Charles Sturt University), Graduate Diploma of Occupational Hazard Management), (Ballarat University), Currently examining study in Leadership through Harvard Business School, Accredited Workplace Health & Safety Officer (Queensland),Justice of the Peace (Queensland), Australian Defence Medal, Brisbane, Australia, fgrobotham@gmail.com, www.ohschange.com.au

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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