Health and Safety and the Domino Effect
The recent fines and reparations handed down to three companies as a result of a worker’s death highlight the Domino Effect. A much-loved person lost their life in a preventable workplace incident. This was not an accident as it was preventable.
What is the Domino Effect as it relates to Health and Safety?
If you have ever witnessed how the Domino Effect works, when the first Domino is tipped, the rest follow and it reveals a picture. Ever wondered how to prevent the total collapse of the artwork whilst it is being built?
Simple, they put in ‘blocks’ at various points so in the event of an accidental tipping of a piece, the whole thing doesn’t collapse.
An effective Health and Safety system should work in much the same way, a ‘block’ that prevents a total collapse. It’s that simple. In the recent case reported in the media, three companies were identified and fined for failure to put in place or action effective ‘blocks’ so that in the event of a failure of one party, it would not end in a tragedy.
The companies, or PCBUs, were of varying sizes, but each had a major role in preventing the tragedy. While the fines were proportioned as to the degree of ‘Blame’, it misses the point of an effective Health and Safety Process. If any of those involved had put in place practical ‘blocks’, the death of a loved one would not have occurred.
An effective ‘block’ is NOT a paper trail, nor an “I thought someone else was supposed to do that” process.
It is in fact, as the intent of the new Act strives to initiate, everyone’s role and responsibility to take an active part in the H&S implementation and create effective ‘blocks’ via a cultural change to Health and Safety backed by appropriate documentation being utilised correctly.
The PCBU (business entity), their staff, contractor’s/sub-contractors and their respective staff (‘Workers’ as the Act defines employed people) all must fulfil their roles. Make no mistake; this includes even those in an office that supports the PCBU’s activities who see something that is not right.
YOU MUST DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. DOING NOTHING IS NOT AN OPTION, as it might well be that what you do puts the vital missing ‘block’ in place that prevents a tragedy.
Health and Safety should not be an onerous, paper-based, ‘do it because we have to’ process. In fact, when everyone takes ownership of their own Health and Safety, it provides for a safer workplace and adds value to a PCBUs overall operation.
Contact Graham here to start the process by reviewing your current Health and Safety program.