Workplace Health and Safety For Dummies

Workplace Health and Safety For Dummies

Here is an interesting review by Kevin Jones on the new book “Health and Safety at Work for DUMMIES”. I haven’t read it yet and not sure that I will as I imagine it is just about safety (if you look at the front cover under “Learn to” or check out the summary on the Dummies Website you will see what I mean).  Half the problem with safety these days is it’s dumbed down by-products. But, Kevin shares a quote from the book which makes me think that it may have broken away from traditional safety books and there appears to be some other reality checks in there about some of the fears and myths of safety so I am a little intrigued:

“Modern health and safety isn’t some strange, mystical art.  In fact, you can argue that it isn’t really a subject in its own right at all.  Instead it’s a collection of topics brought together with a safety emphasis; that is, to avoid injury or ill-health. In a wider sense, health and safety is also a key aspect of business risk management.”



Dummies can equal clarity

It took a long time but Wiley has published a Dummies guide on Health and Safety At Work. The lack of an occupational health and safety (OHS) book in this series has always been a mystery particularly when the Dummies” market seems to be, primarily, small- to medium-sized businesses.  This edition is written for the UK market but the vast majority of the book is applicable to any jurisdiction that is based on the original UK OHS laws. But is it any good?

SafetyAtWorkBlog dipped into several chapters of the book to see if it was on the right path.

This article is not going to discuss the Dummies format which has evolved over many years with textboxes, icons, tips etc. and with which most people are familiar or, if not, go to a local book shop and dawdle in the Dummies aisle.

As mentioned above this Dummies book matches the business sector who most often asks for help in OHS and usually from a minimal level of knowledge or, even worse, been tainted by the “elf ‘n’ safety” of the English tabloid media.  The book’s first line immediately establishes a rapport with the reader by saying:

“Health and safety is a surprisingly interesting topic”.

This acknowledges that OHS is rarely the core consideration of any business and implies that the authors have been equally surprised. The first page provides useful information intended to grab the attention of a potential buyer and reassure the business reader of the fundamentals of safety management.  These include

  • “Risk Assessment is a core tool for health and safety…
  • Safety management systems are much easier to set up than to maintain, review and improve,….
  • Using consultants can be an efficient and effective use of resources…
  • No two safety experts will ever agree on the detail….” (pages 1 & 2)


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