As long as you have put the right paperwork in place and completed it the right way (usability mapping – https://safetyrisk.net/paperwork-and-usability-in-tackling-risk/ ) then all is well. How delightful to find the right template, fill it out correctly, change logos and keep the Auditor and Regulator happy. What a relief to download a template so that you don’t have to think. How wonderful to get a checklist and tick those boxes. What a breeze it is to keep some irrelevant bureaucrat happy with the form they like to see. What a strange industry that thinks the outcome of safety is the production of a piece of paper.
Of course all templates are dangerous and illegal. A template is just a trap that makes you think you have fulfilled some requirement. Paper safety is not safety (https://www.waylandlegal.com.au/post/paper-safe). The production of paperwork, no matter how you fill it out (usability mapping) simply promotes more of the delusion that paperwork has some relationship to action. When you are on the frontline where all the risk is, paperwork is irrelevant, that is not how workers make decisions (https://vimeo.com/471823469).
Of course, the purpose of any piece of paper is as an aide to thinking. A risk assessment is not the paper but what conversations and engagement one has in the field about the reality of risks in the job. The focus on templates and paper outcomes is the grand safety delusion. In all my 20 years in safety and in every fatality I have been involved in, the paperwork has always been completed. Paperwork (https://vimeo.com/162034157) and paper safety saves no one.
I was on a mine site this week and the over-regulation is mind blowing. Every time we get yet another engineer (https://safetyrisk.net/an-engineering-dreamworld/) to do yet another review of safety (https://safetyrisk.net/brady-review-nothing-new-no-way-forward/) we end up with more bureaucracy, more templates and more delusion about the purpose of safety.
I know businesses now that have to employ two safety people, one full time to do all the paperwork and updates and the other safety person to actually do safety. What a crazy world safety is and none of the peak bodies do anything to change this insane and growing delusion with paperwork.
On the same mine site I we spent 3 days working with supervisors and safety people on the basics. Put away your checklists, leave you bits of paper behind, bin the templates and actually learn how to engage people with effective conversations about risk. There was no surprise to learn that no one knew how to ask an open question but they were so proficient at working over an auditor app. There was no surprise they knew how to collect lists of hazards but no idea of how to engage others in Workspace, Headspace and Groupspace (https://vimeo.com/143710374 ). So many templates, so much regulation and such little idea about the skills required in tackling risk.
This is the template trap, this is the grand safety delusion that all comes undone when the court smashes what this industry has concocted and reality bites that none of this is about Due Diligence. Indeed, the template trap is a demonstration of negligence.