organisational culture


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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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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5 tips to reduce the agony of meetings

I’m sure we have all been stuck in a meeting and had thoughts similar, just as in the parody articles below. The question no doubt asked is – “how did we get here?”.

That’s actually the question that SHOULD be asked. How did team members end up in a meeting without being fully aware of what it’s about. So here are some simple tips on maximising the value of meetings and reducing the pain for those there.

  1. Define why you need it: So often a meeting occurs because you’re just used to having similar meetings or there is some vague need to get/give information. If you stop and WRITE DOWN exactly why the meeting is necessary, you will have a better chance of making sure it only goes ahead if critical as well as staying on mission. Having mixed or multiple WHY’s can mean it’s a combined topic meeting, but often this can make the process a bit confusing for those in the meeting. Consider breaking topics off into separate forums or at least have a firm boundary of when one topic ends and the second one starts (e.g. firm agenda).
  2. Only have who you need in the room: Meetings are expensive given most people lose at least some time preparing, getting there or in the gaps between finishing their last task and not enough time to start another before the meeting. And in today’s knowledge worker age, we need significant mental focus to do our work – thus lost time getting back on topic afterward. Having people in the room for less than essential FYI reasons is just a waste of time and money that could often have been achieved with a follow up email or ‘offline’ conversation.
  3. Communication but not as we know it: All meetings are about communication in some way, but if it’s purely about communication and not consultation, then there is a high likelihood that at least some of it can be completed outside of the meeting forum. While it sounds simple, don’t underestimate the value in defining the direction of the desired communication you’re wanting to occur in the meeting. Is it top down or is it bottom up? An organisations leadership team (e.g. the PCBU/employer) normally have numerous opportunities to communicate down to the team members, so have a good think to determine if this is the best forum for them to deliver their message. Often though, in the HSEQ space, there is a need to provide a forum for floor level workers to raise issues to their leaders. So if this is the WHY behind the meeting, what harm is being done when it starts with a 40 minute presentation from a HSEQ professional or supervisor on some issue of the moment? Doing this and asking after ward, are their any issues to be raised will likely end up with none.
  4. Set the meeting up for success: Pick a time and place that promotes effective communication. Where possible, don’t have it first thing on Monday morning or on fly out day when team members are still waking up or reconnecting after their weekend. The except is if it’s critical to the team’s awareness of what they’ve missed over that period or information to help keep them safe/allow them to do their job on that first day/shift back. At the same time, and meeting on Friday afternoon or just before knock off is just likely to have the feeling in the room that they’ll strangle anyone who drags it out my more than a minute. If you want them to listen to the message from the top, or to raise genuine concerns, then make it an environment that promotes this.
  5. Consultation and communication are different: Consultation happens WITH someone and communication occurs FROM or TO someone. So don’t kid yourself you’re engaging in a consultative meeting if it’s set up so there is an endless flow of communication occurring which suppresses any likely consultation. If the main priority for having the meeting is to meet legislated consultation requirements, then make sure it’s consultative. A small amount of communication to define what it’s about or to ‘break the ice’ of conversation is OK, but remain ever vigilant in your focus on why your there.

There are plenty of other good tips on making the most of your meetings, but hopefully these 5 tips will reduce the pain for workers and leaders in sitting through meetings that add no value or seem to never be able to achieve their intended aim.

Check out the links below to these parody articles on meetings. I can certainly relate to being in and unfortunately sometimes running those ineffective meetings myself. Hopefully you’ll now be less likely to do either.

Stuck in a meeting – The Daily Mash

No-one has a clue what this meetings is about – The Daily Mash


Vadim Pantall

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Information of mis-information?

Are you focussed on addressing the right risks?

Too often misinformation can redirect valuable finite resources from the right risks to other less critical places due to fear or distraction.

Use a professional to help you determine where your risk management efforts should be spent.

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