Sheffield Occupational Health and Safety Association :: View topic - Winning Hearts and Minds | Conflict, Obstructive Individuals

Post new topic   Reply to topic
Author
Message
Anonymous



Joined: Nov 10, 2000
Posts: 0
PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2011 2:11 pm Reply with quote Back to top
Hi,

I am looking for advice and help. I am having some particular difficulty with a Senior Manager on one of my sites. He does not take Health and Safety seriously and undermines my attempts to change the culture on this site. Unfortunately he has the old school approach to management. I have full backing from management at a more senior level but feel that I need to develop a better working relationship with this manager.

I would very much appreciate if anyone has any suggestions how I can achieve this or has / is having similar problems and how they are or have approached them.

Thanks in advance  
View user's profile Send private message
C.Jerman
Executive Committee
Executive Committee


Joined: Mar 11, 2008
Posts: 148
Location: Chesterfield, Derbyshire
PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 10:00 am Reply with quote Back to top
OK, another attempt at a short answer to a great question that is deserving of a much longer one.

The truth is that it's 2011 and to be talking about 'health and safety' in the same terms that we did nearly 40 years ago just doesn't make much sense to many managers, especially in what we might term a 'lower risk' environment.

The problem is that many safety management systems have compliance at their heart and set out fundamentally to meet a regulation. When in fact we should just be aiming for what is the right answer to the issues that we identify through risk assessment. If you do a good job of risk assessment (sort of a given, I know) and use TASKS as the foundation, you immediately put the issues into context for managers. They understand that language. Because safety is seen as a never ending road it can all be just too much to even consider hence their dismissive attitude. If you can sell solutions to task problems in chunks that effectively show a reduction in the level of risk, they start to correlate action and effect. Not every one likes numbers in risk assessment - I appreciate that, but using a simple 3 point scale you can show where you are, where you should be and what to do to get there AND that you have got there.

It's a huge subject and as I said, I'd try to be brief, but the real nub here is that in order to get him to change, YOU need to change your approach to get inside his head and see what makes him tick. You actually have to try and find questions that he will agree with as being sensible. Then ask him how he'd answer them. Here's a simple example. "The law doesn't expect us to risk assess everything, I know, but how do you decide what to assess and what to leave? How would you decide?" "After all we want as few risk assessments as possible don't we?"

If you can get them to agree to ANYTHING then you have a foot in the door. You almost have to dismiss safety at times to show that you are on his wavelength.

Hope that gives you an idea or two. If you can get the most awkward person saying yes, then the rest is easy!

Chris
_________________
Trying to bring a sense of proportion to all of this.
 
View user's profile Send private message AIM Address
D.Toseland
Getting Started
Getting Started


Joined: Mar 09, 2010
Posts: 14
Location: South Yorkshire, UK
PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2011 11:13 am Reply with quote Back to top
I think this is a really good answer on a practical sensible way to manage health and safety issues. However (inevitably) companies must also comply with the regulations, even though they may seem superflous given the task and context. Should accidents occur the lack of compliance to this or that regulation will be focussed on and not the commonsense approach.
I agree fully with what Chris has said but will the lawyers?

sorry not much advice in that other than to be aware of how things may be interpreted later.  
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
C.Jerman
Executive Committee
Executive Committee


Joined: Mar 11, 2008
Posts: 148
Location: Chesterfield, Derbyshire
PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2011 11:36 am Reply with quote Back to top
OK I take your point, but perhaps I wasn't clear. Well I was trying to be short.

The problem with aiming for compliance with a reg is that you end up bending over backwards to meet everything in the ACOP. In fact you might even try to meet regs that don't apply. I have seen people with radiation policies - but don't have a radiation issue. See the point? And when are you compliant? Each year you look for more and more and more...

Now if you follow the management regs and use GOOD risk assessments to work out what issues you have to tackle, which you have tackled and now need to manage and which are really just trivial and then DO SOMETHING about that, then you will actually be compliant. Compliant with that which you need to comply. For example instead of trying to comply with the WAH ACOP, you just set out (using it as guidance) to do WAH safely, then you have complied, haven't you? The goal here is 'safe' not 'compliant'. And that's the fundamental issue in my view. All the regs since 92 have been written in a sort of 'Hey, it's your business, you work it out' but instead of taking those ACOPS as guidance on how to achieve that, we have turned the ACOP into the goal.

Now the lawyers haven't had an issue with this so far and neither did Judith Hackitt when I sent a day with her explaining my views. You have to take a leap of faith sometimes and I realise that it's not always easy. I'm not the enforcing authority here. But in fairness, enforcers are not the law. Their views are not law. I have had EHOs for example say that they don't like my risk assessments. I looked that up and do you know what, that's not part of a regulation that I have to satisfy!

We have made a real change in our business by putting risk assessment at the heart of our system not 'Health and Safety'. In fact when asked we say 'We don't do health and safety, we simply do good management' and when we find a problem we apply a solution taken from good safety practice. But, we don't DO safety anymore. We don't even have health and safety committees anymore. We have risk assessment management committees whose sole function is to monitor, review, comment and quality assure risk assessments and control decisions. Only the people with a major stake in the assessments come to the meetings and that may change over time. But it runs as a management meeting - problem - solution, progress, what's next. Well something like that. So in other words, risk assessment actually live. They are the fuel, not something we do in terms of complying.

Right - enough of that. Turning into a sermon again.

Chris
_________________
Trying to bring a sense of proportion to all of this.
 
View user's profile Send private message AIM Address
M.Wait
Executive Committee
Executive Committee


Joined: Mar 22, 2011
Posts: 211
Location: South Yorkshire
PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2011 11:38 am Reply with quote Back to top
The thing is you are both right in what you say the difficluly is getting them to buy in. There has been so much bad press for H&S over the last few years. What we need is for H&S managers and Production Managers to work together to achive a common goal. At the end of the day H&S is about maximising production as well. This is achieved by improving production, systems, training etc. At the end of the day maximising production pays our wages as well, however not at the cost of poor H&S measures which inevitably lead to lost time incidents ie poor production. Its finding the common goal that's difficult something that breaks the ice. Unfortunately you sometimes have to wait for doors to open for that to happen and until that time barriers start to be put up.

Mark
_________________
Group Health & Safety Manager | Special Steel Co Ltd
 
View user's profile Send private message
C.Jerman
Executive Committee
Executive Committee


Joined: Mar 11, 2008
Posts: 148
Location: Chesterfield, Derbyshire
PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2011 11:44 am Reply with quote Back to top
Sure. But I don't think that we were disagreeing though. My point was indeed fine in a technical sense but the question was over how other less enlightened people may see that point of view. It's something that we constantly face. And the successful conversion rate for those who question what we have done is pretty high. People can't help agreeing with sensible ideas. if you do what you've always done you'll get what you've always got. Well, for nearly 40 years we've been doing the same thing. And the next 40 years???

Chris
_________________
Trying to bring a sense of proportion to all of this.
 
View user's profile Send private message AIM Address
D.Toseland
Getting Started
Getting Started


Joined: Mar 09, 2010
Posts: 14
Location: South Yorkshire, UK
PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2011 1:01 pm Reply with quote Back to top
Not being argumentative, I agree we should focuss on safety and not be looking over our shoulder all the time at compliance.
A good point Chris is the "less enlightened people". These can be 18001 assessors who look for things to tick boxes (another pet hate of mine).  
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
C.Jerman
Executive Committee
Executive Committee


Joined: Mar 11, 2008
Posts: 148
Location: Chesterfield, Derbyshire
PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2011 2:05 pm Reply with quote Back to top
Oh we are so on the same page there!

Doing things to satisfy an audit. Arrgghhh. And having the accreditation because having looks good, not the getting of it that has a benefit.

Chris
_________________
Trying to bring a sense of proportion to all of this.
 
View user's profile Send private message AIM Address
Display posts from previous:       

Post new topic   Reply to topic

View next topic
View previous topic
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You cannot download files in this forum
 Jump to:   

Powered by phpBB © 2001-2012 phpBB Group