Here is a moral dilemma for you – When something goes wrong, would you rather know or pretend not to know about it? “Well it all depends” we hear you say.. so let’s cut to the chase, because it always depends, doesn’t it? It depends on where it happens, who is involved, what are the short and long term consequences and what impacts it personally has on us.
We are all busy people, and we have successfully trained our brain to not waste any time, our brain begins to put together an equation which looks something like this:
Input: “Corey has been smoking in the backyard”
Brain: Who is Corey?
Input: Corey is the neighbour’s son
Brain: Not important! Move on
Input: Corey is your son
Brain: Important! Conducting risk assessment now!
Now let’s add a complication: “Corey has been smoking in YOUR backyard in the presence of YOUR younger child”
Do you see your brain reaction change? Is it suddenly more important to you to know that Corey is doing something wrong irrelevant of him only being the neighbour’s son?
It sure is! And here is why:
- Your brain recognises the presence of health hazards to your family member
(Health hazards = risk of health complications + Risk of financial impacts)
- Your brain recognises the presence of ethical and moral responsibility
(Should you tell your neighbour? Should you say anything to their son? Should you worry about your younger child picking bad habits?) and so on.
And once this multi-level evaluation is done, you will see that the bottom line of all your brain’s efforts comes down to one word: Control.
So, would you rather know or not know that Corey was smoking in your backyard while your younger child was playing around? And would you care in the same way if your younger child was in the house and not outside? You may think that this question is stupid. You may think that so far this article just has no relevance to you at all! – But this is where it is going to hit home:
Every day, every fleet, construction, manufacturing and distribution manager asks themselves this question – “do I really want to know?” And the question will have a different context every time –
“Do I want to know how much time my team is wasting chatting?”
“Do I want to know when my equipment is being misused or used unsafely?”
“Do I want to know when my delivery drivers are breaching legal limits and regulations?”
“Do I want to know….” – and you can fill this blank.
It has been the reality for many decades that “what you didn’t know, can’t hurt you’. It has been a reality that has resulted in many injuries, losses and even deaths, too many instances
Today the awareness of the importance of workplace health and safety is much stronger. What hasn’t changed completely is our scruffy culture and our outdated views that things that are too hard to understand can wait. So what do we do with a legal term we don’t fully understand? BAM – Into the “Too hard basket” it goes. Same thing happens every day to the term “So Far As Is Reasonably Practicable”. Come on… how many of you stumbled onto it and went “what the hell does that supposed to mean?”.
Don’t worry. If you know the definition – well done! If you don’t – you are not alone. But what you need to know either way, is that the very definition of this term means that these days – even what you don’t know can hurt you, and it can hurt you even more if you were supposed to and had the obligation to know it. Once again, it comes down to that one simple word – Control.
The boundaries of ‘Reasonably Practicable’ are an objective test. There simply are things that are practicable and things that aren’t practicable to do to ensure health and safety at any given time.
To understand what is or isn’t practicable – you need to understand the hazards, levels of risks and severity of consequences and impacts. The common hierarchy of controls that is used to manage Health and Safety Risks goes from the strongest and most effective (elimination) to the weakest and least effective (PPE). And in order to implement the correct levels of controls – you need to undertake hazard risk assessments, review your resources, responsible parties, assign due dates etc.
And here is one simple example for you: If Maria, the tired sleepy truck driver has breached a speed limit, and lost control of her truck – which led to the truck running off the road and into a bus stop, and nearly hitting a pedestrian – it would not be reasonably practicable for you to shut down your three offices for a week. Neither would it have made any sense for you to do so. A much better plan would be to investigate the near miss, provide training, review the work-load, monitor the situation and simply equip both the truck and Maria with the right tools that send warnings of potential risks intelligently and in real time… do they exist? You bet your horn they do!
Let us tell you about a simple tool that will make your risk management process much easier.
Ask us about KIM – the system that has all the tools your business needs for operational excellence and compliance – From Quality Objectives, task management tools,
electronic forms and signatures, internal audits and more.
It’s time to shift the scruffy gears of our culture and become the real drivers of change! It’s time to put your trust and confidence in tools that are designed to ensure the task of managing safety easier. It’s time to lift your game and work with partners who truly know how to help.
Look out for “safety baked in” and make sure “your people” get home, because it’s all of our obligations.
Call us now on 1300 786 272 and book your free demo.