Behavioural Safety - Horses and Water....

Merlin

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For those that don't already know, I am a Health, Safety and Environmental Manager at a chemical plant near Manchester. I am also a great believer and advocate of behavioural safety.

I came home from work tonight absolutely fuming. I have spent the last four years trying to drag the place where I work from the 1970s into the 21st Century in terms of safe working.

This afternoon, despite training courses, toolbox talks and the provision of safety equipment, when I patrolled the plant (as I do a couple of times a day) I caught a warehouse team leader and his immediate supervisor in the basket of a cherry picker, 30 feet in the air amongst the racking without restraint harnesses on. :wooha::eek:

I challenged them and asked them how the new "invisible harnesses" were working out, to which the team leader immediately admitted that he was in the wrong; the supervisor just smiled at me.

As I am not their line manager, I reported this matter to the Production Manager, who can best be described as Gene Hunt from Life on Mars (quite appropriate, given the 70s culture when I arrived there). I have asked him to take appropriate action and I suspect that they may not get disciplinary action, as the supervisor and manager are friends and have known each other a very long time, hence he is very protective of his long-serving staff.

I have always told the plant guys that I'm not their mother; I am a coach, mentor, guide and advisor. An operator should be able to know when something he is doing is unsafe and the supervisor should intervene to stop these unsafe acts from happening. I am horrified that by not taking harsh disciplinary action against them for this clearly dangerous act, the manager is seen to be condoning the bad behaviour and possibly re-inforcing it, which is flying in the face of my attempts to change the culture at the plant.

I just don't get this; you do all you can to provide everything to create the right conditions for safe behaviour, you 'take the horse to water' as it were, but how dangerous does something need to be, before people realise it's a bad idea?

A major contributory cause to accidents is failure in the level of supervision. You can do all of the right stuff with training, information and instruction, but if the supervision isn't on top of things and taking operators to task for unsafe behaviour, bad things will happen before too long....

I can see a major fall-out happening before too long between the Production Manager and me; I have tried to remain professional and maintain integrity for the last four years but I fear that I am going to say something deeply un-professional to this guy before much longer. I report to the MD and have equal rank with the Production Manager, however I hope that good sense prevails before I have to take it to the MD.

AAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!
:mad::mad::mad::censored::censored::censored::Doh::Doh::Doh::censored::censored::censored::mad::mad::mad:

I feel like throwing in the towel.....:nod::(
 

Justin

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i assume that you wouldn't have liked the forklift truck racing we used to do or the who can lift the most contests (winner decided by who got the rear wheels highest off the floor)?

i do agree with safety measures but i also think there is now so much H&S and PCness in the world that it's stopping people from just getting things done.


cheers, JuvUK
 

Merlin

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@ JuvUK

Don't get me wrong; I'm not one of the nanny, politically correct types.

If a person falls out of the basket from 30 feet up, there is likely to be only one result, and it will be a bad day at the office. As our resident fly-boy r0jaws and maybe SdG will testify, "It's not the fall that kills you, it's the sudden stop at the bottom".

No job is too important or urgent that it can't be done in a safe way. Falls from height are a big ticket item with the HSE right now and the fines can be eye-watering.

Safety should start with YOU, not the safety manager. What's politically correct about that statement?
 

arnljot

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First thing first.

Don´t throw in the towel. But you know that.

However, from a different field. Systems development, where methodology can mean the complete failure of a project or success of a project. And we spend lots of time and effort on developing tools, skills and practices to ensure the success of our labours. Only to see product owners, project oweners. Managers and anyone else with a title skip happily past such efforts after "our nice talk".

I can only tell you, I understand where you come from. The stress I feel when hundreds, sometimes millions are at stake can probably not compare with you, as lives and health are never at stake if I, or people I work with make a mistake.

Now, if that manager doesn´t do what he should do. Maybe there is a way to escalate. Or maybe a private talk with him would do. Or perhaps you know another way, after the venting.

PC or not PC, somebody with a broken neck isn´t PC at all.
 

Merlin

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Those members on here that are management will know that there is a 'line' you cross when you become a manager. This 'line' is where you start to create a professional distance around you and your friendships with your original workmates changes; you sort of stop being 'friends' with them at work, as you have to create and maintain integrity as a manager.

Unfortunately, the manager I am dealing with in this case hasn't crossed that 'line', and therefore is seen to have little integrity and doesn't command a lot of respect from the workforce. This is quite common and I've seen it in a lot of companies.

He has a choice to make; he either 'keeps it in the family', crosses the 'line' and disciplines his good friend the supervisor, or I file an incident report that lets the cat out of the bag with our parent company and the fallout from that won't be pretty. If he doesn't discipline the supervisor, he undermines the whole Health & Safety and HR systems at our site and I can't allow that to happen.

I am now waiting to see what choice he makes.....
 

chiark

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Who ultimately does the buck stop with for H&S? IIRC directors can end up in jail for this sort of thing. "Corporate manslaughter".

Raise it to the directors / whoever has neck on the block, recommending they get the staff member to sign a disclaimer noting that they have been told, trained and ordered to use the right safety gear but have chosen to endanger their own lives and the lives of others, and that they bear full responsibility for any occurrence.

Actually, forget that. Just tell the boss, point out the potential lawsuit costs, and see where that goes.

I guess you've already looked at the escalation procedures though...
 

SkydivinGirl

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"It's not the fall that kills you, it's the sudden stop at the bottom"
Too true!

Unfortunately, if the people who are in the position to enforce the rules do not do so then there's not much you can do. I run into this with password security at my company. The president of the company thinks he has too many passwords so he never wants to change his and he doesn't want it to be strong. I've pushed as far as I can but our password policy here is laughable. However, without his support, there's nothing more I can do.

:Doh::Doh::Doh::Doh:

It's good to vent though, isn't it? :wink:

Heather
 

Merlin

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i'm a firm believer in Darwin and natural selection, nature always weeds out the stupid :)

So, how did you manage to survive the fork lift truck races then...?? :whistle:

:mrgreen:
 

Merlin

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i'm a firm believer in Darwin and natural selection, nature always weeds out the stupid :)

So, how did you manage to survive the fork lift truck races then...?? :whistle:

:mrgreen:

by being the quickest! rofl

speed=fit=survival

Nope; that just means you crash faster....ask Ayrton Senna....oops! you can't.....

(speed=fit=survival)-common sense= accident

:dry:
 

Justin

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So, how did you manage to survive the fork lift truck races then...?? :whistle:

:mrgreen:

by being the quickest! rofl

speed=fit=survival

Nope; that just means you crash faster....ask Ayrton Senna....oops! you can't.....

(speed=fit=survival)-common sense= accident


:dry:

Senna died because of a faulty weld in the steering column which was rushed and botched because H&S got involved and interfered with everything which had been fine for decades before they got involved :p
 

Templar

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by being the quickest! rofl

speed=fit=survival

Nope; that just means you crash faster....ask Ayrton Senna....oops! you can't.....

(speed=fit=survival)-common sense= accident


:dry:

Senna died because of a faulty weld in the steering column which was rushed and botched because H&S got involved and interfered with everything which had been fine for decades before they got involved :p

You can blame Frank Williams for that.
 

Merlin

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Fine; substitute Ayrton Senna with Microsoft Windows, will that make you happy? :roll:

It crashes just as fast.....:LOL:
 

Justin

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Fine; substitute Ayrton Senna with Microsoft Windows, will that make you happy? :roll:

It crashes just as fast.....:LOL:


nope windows crashes because it has to work for stupid people, and stupid people need to be cast out and left to die :nod:
 

Merlin

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JuvUK said:
nope windows crashes because it has to work for stupid people, and stupid people need to be cast out and left to die :nod:

I'm curious; by which uber-intelligent selection process did you and your colleagues arrive at the conclusion that a fork lift truck was a good choice for a racing vehicle? You must be years ahead of Ferrari.....:whistle:

:popcorn:

Edit: Hang on, was it the Ferrari 378...??
 

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Justin

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JuvUK said:
nope windows crashes because it has to work for stupid people, and stupid people need to be cast out and left to die :nod:

I'm curious; by which uber-intelligent selection process did you and your colleagues arrive at the conclusion that a fork lift truck was a good choice for a racing vehicle? You must be years ahead of Ferrari.....:whistle:

:popcorn:

Edit: Hang on, was it the Ferrari 378...??

lol the one where we had fork lift trucks but no Ferrari
 
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