I recently facilitated an OHS workshop for managers and one of the three questions I put to them was:

‘What are the biggest barriers/hurdles or challenges to providing a safe workplace?’

Whilst there were a number of great answers that generated a lot of discussions, the one which generated the most talk was ‘Knowing what good looks like’.

I started the discussion by asking the manager responsible what they meant by the comment and the answer was simple:

  • How do I know if I am doing the right thing, how do I know what is the right thing?
  • If someone gets injured then I haven’t done the right thing?

After much discussion, the group asked for my opinion and I told them that from where I sit, sometimes good doesn’t have a look, but you can see it.

I went on to give them an example, I had been working at a client’s site and witnessed a worker in a work platform about to be lifted to a conveyor line to remove a blockage. The worker had clipped his harness onto the rear of the cage and before the task started the forklift operator got out of the forklift and advised the worker that he had clipped the harness to the cage and not the anchor point.

The forklift operator went on to explain to the worker that the cage is not designed to hold his weight should he fall, therefore this is why we have anchor points on this type of equipment. Their discussion was short, however, it was concise and to the point, and it gave the worker a logical reason as to why we use anchor points for harnesses.

I did raise this issue at the following toolbox meeting and encouraged the workers to speak up and raise hazards when they see them.

As for the other two questions, I’ll get to them in the next edition.

Daniel McConville is an OHS and Food Safety Consultant who helps clients reduce their risk and grow their business.