There’s no taming of this beast, but you can reduce the risk

Latest post by Sarah-Jane who I know, like me, is looking forward to starting her post grad studies in social psychology of risk and writing more about people rather than objects. She also has some quirky new videos on the way (this one was a big hit: What Safety Means to Me) so watch this space.

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There’s no taming of this beast, but you can reduce the risk

imageThere is always an element of risk when you play a sport isn’t there?

You can’t wrap yourself up in cotton wool in the hope that it will protect you and still play at the top of your game.

I am a self-confessed safety nerd but I am also a lover of dirt bike riding and all things adrenaline.

Businesses ask me all the time “how far do you take safety”?  They say things like “What happened to ‘yeah mate, I stuffed up’?”. This may be all well and good for kicks and scratches, but what about the serious injuries, the ones where people may never get back to their full potential?  They can’t just move on.

Workplaces need to get on top of their game and look for all the ways that injuries can happen and fix them before they turn into an injury.

If you look at dirt bike riding, I could just get rid of my beloved bike and I’d be a lot safer, but I don’t want to do that, so I’ve tried to reduce the risk as far as reasonably practicable.

I’ve tried to identify every reasonably foreseeable thing that could go wrong and tried to fix each one of these as much as I can.

I’ve lowered the suspension slightly so my short legs can touch the ground, I’ve also put protection around the sharp edges of the number plate so it doesn’t become a flying knife if I have a big fall.  I plan the trails I want to ride in line with my experience and those that I ride with, I ride within my limits and slow down at blind corners and take it slow on challenging rocks and we always take emergency supplies and a first aid kit.  A big part is my protective equipment – top quality helmet, boots, elbow and knee covers and so on.

Just like in business, when it comes to dirt bike riding you can’t get rid of the risk all together but you can try and do everything you can to reduce risk.

When you are coming up with all the reasonably foreseeable things that can go wrong in your workplace take into account past history, industry examples and ask the people who are doing the job what they think could go wrong and observe who they act and they do their job.

Then try to get rid of the hazards or reduce the risk of them turning into an injury, as far as is reasonably practicable.

This may be by modifying equipment, separating the danger from the people doing the job, better training and supervision, or better PPE.

At the end of the day, as an employer you never want to think ‘I could have prevented that injury, but I was too busy’, or ‘I wish I spent that extra money to fixing that hazard, this would never have happened’.

If you would like to reduce risk in your workplace, I urge you to get in touch.


Safety Nerd

Owner and Principal Consultant at Riskology
I’ve been in safety my whole career. Well nearly my whole career, I started off as a secretary for a recruitment company, then dabbled in HR whilst stumbling onto safety, which I fell head over heels ….literally in love (I know safety nerd alert) with safety after reading the book Lessons from Longford by Anthony Hopkins at the age of 19 and haven’t looked back since. I had a few friends that had been permanently injured in their early 20s and my Dad nearly lost his foot in a workplace accident when I was a twinkle in his eye and the Lessons from Longford book made so much sense to me. I started my life in safety knee high to a grasshopper working for Aristocrat in the 90’s, a gaming machine company in Sydney where I introduced national safety handbooks, alerts, industry focus groups and decided this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life; during this time I also headed off to Uni and completed an MBA specialising in industrial relations, the closest qualification at the time related to safety, since then there’s been an explosion of courses so I then got my teeth into a masters of safety. I then went onto a safety role at Coca Cola Amatil and tackled the logistics of ensuring multiple sites were compliant from call centres to sales to manufacturing workers. This was an interesting time when new manufacturing plants were opening and becoming fully automated, never a dull moment in the world of safety. I’m a bit of a car buff so then moved into a safety role at Inchcape, you know the guys that own Subaru. I was looking after the safety for 45 sites and came up with some great strategies to get them all confident and running with safety. After saving my employers in total over $1.5million in workers comp and setting up some great strategies I decided to jump ship and moved away from the big smoke for love. That was a couple of years ago now and that’s when Riskology was born. I love helping other businesses create safer workplaces helping them through the minefield of legislation with simple easy solutions with the end goal of making workplaces safer. The safety industry has changed significantly in recent years, with new legislation and tougher penalties. Small businesses are expected to comply just as much as large businesses, that’s where I come in, helping to bridge the gap and cut through the jargon. Safety doesn’t have to be the elephant in the room, good safety practices is good for business. Qualifications Master’s degree in Occupational Health and Safety Master’s degree in Business Industrial Relations Accredited Lead Auditor Graduate Certificate Health and Safety Management Systems Cert IV – Workplace Training, OHS, HR(and Dip), Secretarial

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