THE SERIOUS BUSINESS OF KEEPING SAFE
Safety Management is a critical and important aspect of business. In fact, these days we hear about safety in our workplaces in pretty much everything we do.
When we get on a flight we hear the same safety instructions and what to do in the event of danger. In some workplaces, instructions are provided and repeated on what to do in the event of a bomb threat or if one was to receive a threatening phone call.
These instructions are a constant and consistent reminder of the importance we as a community place on personal safety and the safety of others. But being safe isn’t just confirmed to the workplace and we must take seriously all aspects of safety, in the home, in transit and wherever we may find ourselves. It is our responsibility as much as it is someone’s else to ensure the organisation we are associated with, whether it be a workplace, a school or community centre, has safety as its first and foremost consideration.
At an industrial level, safety issues become magnified when projects are held up over safety concerns. These are the disputes which often hit the headlines where unions and employers are at loggerheads over the validity of claims and counter-claims.
However, the stark reality is that better safety practices save lives. In Australia workplace deaths halved in just ten years, down from 300 in 2006 to 150 in 2016. Obviously, any loss of life or injury at work is a tragedy, but the downward trajectory of these numbers is an encouraging sign.
Safety Management Systems and their accompanying accreditation are now standard across many areas of the economy and in fact the need to have these systems in place is often a prerequisite for winning and maintaining contracts.
In addition, there are numerous industry conferences now focused exclusively on safety. Tolerro is particularly looking forward to Safety Connect 2018, the annual conference of the National Safety Council of Australia which is being held in Brisbane this coming August.
One Australian industry that stands out for its safety track record is mining, which is characterised by highly dangerous work involving heavy machinery, and remote underground locations. Remarkably, Australia’s mining sector doesn’t make the top five industries for work-related deaths.
Tolerro’s CEO and Managing Director, Anomi Bruynius, says the reason for this will be obvious to anyone who has ever been to an Australian mine site where the ethos of safety runs through every aspect of life on site including travel, communication, clothing, environmental hazards and more.
“I have had the great privilege of working in remote mine sites in Australia where safety was number one, and nothing else came close to that consideration. The miners and their management did not put a price on human life.
“Sadly, the same consideration is not placed at the same level in other industries. I learnt firsthand while working in the Middle East, that a price is in fact placed on human life, and the $amount payable to a family should their loved one lose his life. Some operators saw workplace casualties as acceptable and inevitable; a situation which I found then and still consider to be abhorrent.”
At Tolerro workplace safety is a way of life and a standard we hold in high regard. Importantly, we extend the same consideration in the way we work with our clients. Best practice in Asset Management and Safety Management go hand in hand and this ultimately means that a long-lasting high performing asset, is also a safe one. Conversely, once an asset’s safety is compromised, it is no longer a viable asset.
Over recent years our focus has been on broadening our clients’ understanding of effective Safety Management from not just being about the safe operation of assets but also the safe interaction and management of the elements surrounding an asset including the environment, the weather as well as the general public and the human workforce. This last point isn’t merely theoretical, the biggest cause of workplace deaths in Australia continues to be road accidents.
For many years safety was mostly related to the physical aspect of us and our place of occupation. In more recent times, the wellbeing of our mental and emotional state has become just as important. Just like the physical aspect, emotional and mental safety does not discriminate – it affects everyone who finds themselves in that unpleasant and unfortunate situation. As managers, business owners, co-workers and friends, it is our responsibility to notice, to report, to help those who may fall into an unsafe situation. We all walk a thin line sometimes, and we can all sympathise and empathise. As much as we look out for the physical safety of us and others, we must also give equal attention to the emotional and mental safety of our workers and those we serve.
While Safety Management may be a little repetitious, it is a very serious business, and we can all contribute to making improvements and to saving lives.