Articles and Blogs

Night shifts, are they safe?


Night shift work has been around for a long time. Night shift is inherently more risky than day shift for a variety of reasons, yet many industries need a night shift to function effectively. These familiar industries include law enforcement, medical facilities, construction, and the oil industry. Identifying the risks is fairly straightforward.


Lessons from Burns Lake. Why charges were not an option


In 2012 the Burns lake sawmill exploded. A few months later the Lakeland mill near Prince George was almost completely destroyed by a similar explosion. Two years later the crown refused to proceed with charges against the mill owners citing irregularities in the WorkSafeBC investigation. There are plenty of lessons to be learned by all parties in these tragic events.


Risk Tolerant or Control Deprived?


Some people, groups, or organization are described as having a high or low risk tolerance. When it comes to workers, they often are not aware of the standard hierarchy of controls to manage safety risks or not involved. This leaves them with the choice of personal protective equipment and/or being careful. Are workers tolerant of high risk or are they left with limited control strategies?


When undetected deviation becomes and incident


The phrase normalization of deviation was made famous by the investigation report from the space shuttle Challenger. This speaks to how deviation from requirements or safe practice became normal and accepted. Very few organizations have systems in place to detect deviation from established processes in order to prevent ongoing normalization.


Is "Safety Culture" Dead?


In 1988, after the incident at Chernobyl, a new term arrived to arm safety professionals the world over. The report of the International Nuclear Safety Advisory Group (INSAG) coined the term “safety culture.” Is "Safety culture" real or has it always been an artificial construct?


Distracted? Technology is the solution


Distracted driving is a consistent problem that policies or even discipline will not solve. We need to look to technology for the solution. Ironically, most of the most effective solutions were developed to stop teenagers from texting while driving.


Anyone Can Do Safety


It is phrase that makes some safety people cringe and others smile. Depending on who you talk to, safety is very simple or very complex. There is a real dichotomy out there in doing safety. After all when you think of a safety person the image that comes to mind probably does not reflect the reality today


Stupid got hurt at work


Yes, we have all seen the videos and heard the stories about some fool doing something stupid and getting hurt at work. We nod knowingly when we hear the story. Only stupid people get hurt at work


Curbing Rule Breakers


Every manager has had issues with people who just do not follow rules. Dealing with them comes with the territory. People fail to follow the rules for lots of reasons. As reasons vary so should your response as a manager. Some just feel the need to push the envelope. Others think the rules are stupid or do not apply. Dealing serial rule breakers usually ends badly, but perhaps we are missing something.


Warning! Important meeting ahead


Another meeting request from you-know-who can fill you with dread. We often hear about, or attend, meetings that are a complete waste of time. A bad meeting lasts for hours and all you can remember is thinking you can never get those hours of your life back.


Is leadership about being in charge?


I recently gave a talk that touched on leadership. It struck me that as a society we all too often equate leadership as an attribute that the boss or manager must have. I think that is really a shame.


Sharing or Stealing?


The ethics of sharing safety "Best Practices". Safety people often do not give credit for original work. Plagiarism brings to mind colleges and universities but it is also an issue in the world of Health and Safety.


Workers compensation - Time to Evolve?


Workers’ compensation has its roots in Germany with Otto von Bismarck in 1884, and his worker “sick fund.” Thirty years later Canada passed its first workers’ compensation act in 1914 after the Meredith report was delivered in Ontario. On the 100th anniversary of the Meredith report and the first draft Workers Compensation Legislation drafted by Justice Meredith. is everything still OK or do we need to evolve those concepts.?


Trends in Health and Safety


Looking ahead to 2015 there are some things that may impact the profession both in Canada and abroad. There is always a lot of guesswork in these sorts of things, particularly in new trends. I say guesswork because there is a big difference between visionary and prophet. Most are easy to see but many have uncertain outcomes.




Peer reviewed articles


The Dissenting Voice, Professional Safety April 2013


1.Whistle blowing, or principled dissent, is not just about financial misconduct.

2.How an organization handles dissent can directly affect its safety performance.

3.The type of organization influences culture and directly affects how well dissent is tolerated affecting safety performance.

4.Safety professionals must often act as the dissenting voice and if it is not done well, dissenting can be costly.


Pyramid Power, Cover story Professional Safety September 2014


1. Safety pyramids date back over 80 years

2.The validity of these ratios is doubtful

3. The original concept has been overlooked

4. Ratios still have their place today can be a valuable metric

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