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The Benefits of Workplace Health & Safety Strategic Planning
The Benefits of Workplace Health & Safety Strategic Planning
By Simon Hart

If you want to go on a road trip to far distant places, you need a map – a real good one. Sure, you could just wing it and follow your nose (or the signs) but if you’ve got a map, you can PLAN your journey before you leave, so that you get there safely and with a minimum of fuss. And if you get lost, you can refer back to your map, and get back on the right track. Sound good to you? Sensible? I’m sure it does. It is no different when it comes to the safety function within an organisation. While it is tempting to let things grow "organically" and react to changes, an unplanned approach can result in dire consequences. Companies that lack a strategic approach to WHS spend a lot of time and effort on ‘firefighting’; acting in a reactive mode. This of course results in missing the big picture, and often focuses on ‘white noise’ rather than critical risks. And it certainly prevents long term planning.

Strategic Planning provides a planned, documented and quantifiable approach for the comprehensive and systematicmanagement of business functions and continuous improvement. WHS Strategic Planning provides the architecture to embed a consistent methodology of managing hazards and risks.

Moving Safety from current to future state
Moving Safety from current to future state
By Simon Hart

The evolving process of safety management has undergone many refinements to culminate in the contemporary shape of systems as we now understand them. But we have now also come to understand that no matter how well designed, these systems alone are not sufficient to make sure people don’t get hurt. What has become clear is that consideration must equally be given to the way in which safety management is carried out.

Organisations vary greatly in size and complexity of their operations. This includes the exposure to varying hazards and risks. Irrespective of this, organisations must manage safety issues appropriately and indeed engender a ‘culture’ of safety that is robust and durable.

An organisation’s journey to this culture is often referred to as Safety Maturity. The journey of Safety Culture Maturity engages the philosophies of Professor Patrick Hudson and others to ascribe an organisation’s progress towards cultural maturity - from a basic crisis/highly reactive position where there is little concern for safety, through to a culture where safety is almost invisible, as it is integrated into the natural way things are carried out within the business.

Figure 1 describes the stages defined by Hudson. From left to right an organisation moves from the ‘pathological’ to the ‘generative’ culture. Rules and compliance dominate the first three stages, but as the culture moves towards generative, the rules become more of guidance.

Figure 1: Hudson’s Safety Maturity model

The 5Cs model depicted in Figure 2 correlates the level of harm to the degree of safety maturity.

Plain English - The importance of clarity in organisational documentation
Plain English - The importance of clarity in organisational documentation
By Simon Hart

Organisations have made great leaps over the last decade to document their processes and the associated procedures. Today, organisations are brimming with mapped processes and endless procedures yet the alignment of everyday work practises still lag.

The common styles of writing used in documentation create a barrier for people because:  
  • The information contained is presented in a complicated way  
  • The style of writing is incompatible with the needs of the user 
The great looming challenge now is to demystify business documentation by applying plain language principles and engage the reader with the knowledge in a direct way. 

So, effective writing is critical in the context of organisational documentation, especially procedures. This of course is very important in functions such as safety and risk, where instructions need to be clear and accurate.

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