Blog

Effort

No work = some results, but do you deserve them?

Without effort in the HSEQ space, plenty of workplaces still get finely rewarded for their laziness. It’s fundamental. It’s easier, often faster and you often then make more money etc. etc.

It’s a common thing to see work occurring for an organisation which I know has strict HSEQ requirements of their team members and/or contractors. At a contractual level, the businesses doing things well can often get beaten into submission by the race to the bottom when they get out bid by a competitor who undercuts them – but them makes profit by failing to follow through with any of their HSEQ commitments.

Now I’m not talking about general ones about “duty of care” and “work safely” which can have a wide range of interpretations. I’m talking about ones where the commercial client has made those tendering for the work to state they’ll comply with very specific requirements and provide evidence of this in order to be in the running. That’s not a bad thing and in today’s age of cost effectiveness and efficiency, I’m the first one to agree with reducing wastage and that includes money wasted in the HSEQ space. The issue is when a contractor bids at a price they know they cannot achieve, so does the high risk work at 3-4am in the morning – clearly and knowingly breaching the explicit requirements they said they’d achieve in order to generate a profit margin where before there was none.

The sad thing is that, it’s probable they’ll get away with it most of the time. That’s the nature of risk – you’re basing things off a probability, and it might work out ok. It also might not.

The ISO 31000:2018 definition of risk is “the effect of uncertainty on objectives”, so are you willing to put catastrophic consequence potential into a job just to make a profit? I hear and see (including just today…) this still commonly.

But, I am not here to police people to do the right thing when they’re only going to hurt themselves. If they wish to do dumb stuff, then that’s their call. What I am concerned about is the ubiquitous race to the bottom for price and the impact it has on those doing the right thing to cut corners in order to win work. My morale challenge is knowing despite increasing pressure to demonstrate how they’ll do the right thing, but budgets and market pressure encouraging them to not follow through. It’s perfectly understandable that people give up and leave their relevant industries or just end up cutting corners knowing they’ll likely get more reward for the wrong thing than the right thing……..well that is until someone falls out of their EWP or gets hit by a car that never saw them working there.

My advice is always that the cowboys are getting less and less now given most people don’t do the wrong thing out of clear knowledgeable violation. They generally do it thinking they’re OK. So while organisations are asking for contractors to demonstrate they’re going to be doing the right thing, those who don’t know what the right thing is are going to win less and less work, and get forced into smaller and smaller sections of the market. Once this is occurring, the impact of price becomes less of an issue because then the true positive impact of reliability and good HSEQ outcomes will be far more profitable than risking everything on a small gain.

To summarise, I’ll say to keep on doing the right thing regardless of these cowboys out there. They’ll be winning less work and be having more incidents. When you’re talking about significant falls from heights, or a fire at a fuel station, or a worker or member of the public getting hit by a vehicle in your workplace, it’s not likely to be cheaper than all the profit margins you’d save by cutting a few corners. In fact, for most small to medium sized businesses, it’s unlikely they’ll still be in business afterwards.

And all that will be left are those doing the right thing. Then you’ll be thankful for the outcomes you deserved from your hard work. And the cowboys will be regretting the outcomes they deserved…

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Technology and innovation

It was great to see a great spread of organisations still focussed on promoting innovation. Regardless of political opinions, it was mentioned that holding back technology and innovation is like holding back the tide. It’s been happening since the latest ‘crazy’ innovation was walking on our hind legs to better outrun Sabre Tooth Tigers.

Let’s just set the current and future generations up to be innovators and show them some of the cool ideas and stuff that’s out there.

Thanks to the team at Land Survey’s for the invite to the event last night. Click this link for some of the info and some pictures of the night.

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Lead

Lead is more harmful than dragons

While Game of Thrones has now ended and it showed how harmful a grumpy girl on a dragon can be, lead is a far bigger concern for us mere mortals. While we know lead is a hazardous substance, it is still not uncommon for organisations to struggle to understand what defines lead-risk work and how to manage this risk.

Our advice has generally been that if any of your team members work in contact with lead or products containing lead (even if it’s a model dragon like the picture), they’re quite likely working in a lead-risk job unless you can prove otherwise. If the contact is minimal and you’ve got no data confirming their blood is lead free,  you’ll likely be hard pressed to justify not treating them like they could currently be or may become exposed. If lead contact is incidental and you’ve got a system in place that shows workers have no lead in their blood over the range of work situations, it’s possible you may have the hazard effectively managed. Obviously each situation is unique so this blog post isn’t to be taken as advice from Dr Google – we’d need to dig a little deeper to do that!

There is further detail in the Occupational Safety and Health Regulations 1996 (WA), but one update recently has been the reduction in the threshold of levels found in the blood before escalated actions are needed for the protection of the health of the worker. Having worked in industries for a number of years where I lived with a baseline blood lead level in a range now deemed unacceptable, I cannot express enough the need to work hard at managing lead exposure at the source. It takes time to drop after it’s discovered in one of your workers, and for cost reasons if nothing else, it’s quite an expensive exercise while you’re waiting for them to come down. That goes without saying, the impact on being TOLD by Worksafe to fix certain things in the workplace is likely greater than doing them under your own direction at your own pace.

If you wish to chat to us for further clarification or ideas on translating this section of the legislation into human speak, give us a call or drop us message on the Contact Us tab of the website.

Or just click on the link below to their website to see the Worksafe publication on the topic.

Worksafe media release

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environment, sustainability

Walking the talk with battery recycling

Here at Safety Risk Solutions we don’t ask others to do what we aren’t willing to do ourselves. Recycling and doing our bit for the environment is no different.

Our owner and Managing Director, Vadim Pantall lives and breathes it living on his sustainable off grid property which is not connected to the grid for power and water – even having no mail delivery or rubbish collection. Apart from some fuel for tractors, and a mobile phone signal so he can work and be contacted by you – his valuable clients, it’s a little patch of paradise that is doing more than it’s fair share in helping the environment.

In our offices, we take recycling serious too. We purchase recycling buckets which come pre-paid so that when we do have single use batteries to dispose of, they don’t get placed in landfill, they can be safely transported to an approved recycling facility for processing so the resources can be extracted wherever practicable and avoid any of the harmful components damaging the environment from the disposal process.

If you’d like some tips on how to help manage your waste footprint and do more towards an environmentally sustainable future, contact us on (08) 9840 5901 or drop us a line via the Contact us tab.

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ISO Certification earns more than it costs

Do you want more work with bigger clients instead of all the effort of chasing lots of little invoices all the time?

The bigger clients such as large contractors, State Government departments or local shires often require their contracting partners to be ISO certified for 9001 Quality, 14001 Environmental and 45001 OHS management systems of they want to do project work of any scale.

We can help you gain pre-qualification for these agencies and can conduct certification audits for accreditation against these standards and are locally owned and run, based right here in Albany and work all across the Great Southern, and across the country. Our clients benefit from our expertise in gaining work with organisations such as the Water Corporation, Western Power, Main Roads, Main Roads and many others.

Contact us to discuss the value these processes can offer for your business.

 

Contracts

ISO standards win contracts

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Line of fire

Another tragic event where a family operated business has suffered the loss of one of it’s team in a workplace incident.

Without knowing the details, and based only on the media reports, we are reluctant to draw conclusions from this event. In saying that, there is no point waiting for a formal report to use the event as a learning opportunity and reminder about line of fire. This does not mean that it was a large factor in this particular incident, but there are few injuries in workplaces that the worker is not in some way exposed and would be safer in a different position.

Having worked in the same industry in the same job in the same suburb seeing the same types of situations, it hits harder than most.

thewest.com.au article – Workplace death

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