Speaker: Dr David Provan
OHS clutter & what to do about it
Every now & then we have a speaker who challenges our traditional ways of thinking and how refreshing that is! Dr David Provan was just such a speaker at our October meeting.
He described safety clutter as processes and activities organisations undertake that do not actually add value to safety, but they are loath to let go of them. He asked for a show of hands to see if anyone could identfy any such activities in their own workplaces and, clearly, people were reluctant to admit such a thing. However, by the end of the presentaton, we understood exactly what he meant and could relate much of what he said to our own workplaces. David gave many examples to illustrate his thesis and to help us "suspend disbelief" in the efficacy of certain practices. He even presented the controversial notion, obtained from research he conducted with Griffith University, that a risk assessment is mostly a social exercise that merely re-confirms people's beliefs.
He outlined a number of negative consequences that can arise from such safety clutter, but also suggested ways of dealing with it. He also posited the interesting concept that more uncertainity can lead to more caution, which in turn leads to more safety.
David also alerted us to a new weekly podcast by him and his fellow researcher from the Safety Science Innovation Lab at Griffith University, Dr Drew Rae. Called The Safety of Work, each week they will look at a different item of the latest safety research and provide practical management tips. To learn more, go to safetyofwork.com
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