Picture of Malcolm Bland

Malcolm Bland

Managing Director at Timely Intervention

Safety Matters!

COVID-19 has had an unprecedented impact on our private and professional lives and many organisations are continuing to assess what this means for their respective industries. One thing has become clear, that COVID-19 has brought greater focus on the need to provide a safe working environment moving forward within a ‘new normal’. To compete in what will be, for many post-pandemic, quite different industries; organisations must adapt and reshape their infrastructures accordingly.

Every organisation, regardless of the nature of its output service or product, has inherent operational risks.  Directors and their management teams have a legal responsibility to ensure that employees feel safe going into work and that the workplace environment is fit for purpose and properly maintained. A systemic approach to safety is essential to protect staff, customers, and the public as well as company assets and the reputation of the business. Risk mitigation is an important benefit of a robust safety system which also leads to the provision of a better working environment for employees reduces waste and lower costs.

Organisational processes, control measures, policies and training are, however, only effective if the workforce understands what is required of them and accept and conform to the requirements. Compliance training is a critical foundation for all safe working environments. Employees that are competent and confident in the execution of their tasks are more motivated, efficient and make better decisions within their roles. There is much truth in the words of the old saying “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” It is however also true that just because someone has been taught how to fish, they will not necessarily do so. It, therefore, follows that behaviour and attitude is just as critical to the success of establishing a strong safety culture within the workplace as the implementation of the procedures themselves.  To work safely, employees need to understand what is required of them and the wisdom behind good working practices.

The consequence of human behavioural failure can be severe. Incident reports show that more than 60% of accidents and near misses are attributed to human error and in some industries, with highly structured work practices the level attributed to human failure exceeds 80%. Human failure is not random, the root causes can be attributed to a few predictable factors such as:

  • Error (unintended action). This may be due to a lack of training or understanding of the task in hand
  • Judgement or concentration lapse possibly due to repetition or ill-health
  • Deliberate intent by applying well-meaning workarounds that circumnavigate a safety procedure to save time, cut cost or simply because the work practice is not accepted as badly designed. Sadly, on occasion, deliberate intent many be a malicious act (sabotage) by disenfranchised employee

Key to establishing a safe working environment is embedding and monitoring sound work practices, supported by compliance training, and a behavioural culture in which doing the right thing and supporting others to do the right thing is the norm. Safety Management software enables managers to monitor trends, be alert to emerging threats and manage compliance adherence across the operation. With an effective system, the safety team can see exactly where accidents and unsafe situations are occurring and take proactive steps to eliminate them.  The reliance on paper forms, spreadsheets, and single-purpose software applications are replaced by a single online system that requires little administration, delivering compliance training, risk assessments and audits collecting real-time data  that is presenting in a Risk Register, easy to read dashboards and reports. Accidents and near misses are captured and managed using the integrated incident and case management system. Serious cases are automatically routed to nominated internal or external experts for impact analysis and remedial action. Multiple sited organisations have unsurpassed visibility of what is working and what is not, and they are able to share information, track and report compliance to standards and regulatory requirements at all locations. This enables flexibility to allow each site to manage the unique operational and site-specific hazards.

A truly comprehensive product will offer a variety of capabilities in a single system, sharing data from one area e.g. compliance training history that can flow seamlessly to other areas such as common user profiles, communication channels and automated alerts. A holistic system reduces redundant data entry and improves data integrity.

The need to train and develop staff and manage compliance is not in question, the choice is how to meet these business imperatives effectively at an affordable cost. Tempus Safety Management is a suite of applications for Safety, Incident Tracking and Reporting, Case Management and Compliance Training. The applications are deployed individually or in concert to deliver a holistic management system shaped for the needs of your organisation. Real-time is compiled and presented in dashboards so that the leadership can monitor the business at-a-glance. There is no need to compromise safety for cost savings. Tempus is very affordable and packed with content such as ready to use risk assessments, audits, and checklists plus a comprehensive library of compliance eLearning. Furthermore, the editor enables the content to be quickly adapted and tailored to local needs.

To create a safety-first culture, it is necessary to create awareness and to have clear accountability at every layer within the workforce.  It is also vital to have complete transparency over safety matters within an open, just safety culture where incidents can be openly discussed and learned from. An investment in Tempus can help navigate through uncertain times, protect against liability, and enhance employee and customer confidence. Make sure you do the right thing by your business and your employees by putting safety first, by recognising that safety matters.

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