What is Safety Clutter?
Well, it’s a good question and the reason why safety sometimes misses the mark. More systems and paperwork do not equate to better safety, and in fact it can lead to the opposite.
Simply, it’s too much safety stuff, i.e., SOPs, Polices, Plans, etc. which are focused on the wrong areas of the business. Creating processes and related work that doesn’t need to exist and which distracts from taking care of what is important, which is critical risks is safety clutter.
Intesafety recently went through a deep dive of all our systems and processes we use to support our clients. We were also guilty of this. We’ve stripped our systems bare to focus on what’s important and in the process made safety more understandable and useable by keeping it simple and real.
A few key questions that may help you establish if you suffer from safety clutter or indeed you are starting out on the safety journey:
- Has anybody read your Health, Safety & Wellness Plan (H, S & W)? If its long its wrong! It’s important to have one as it provides a systematic approach to H, S & W. However, it’s the tools that bridge off it that provide the power = who does what, and when, using what tool?
- Are you a critical risk focused company? If not, become one. Focus on those risks that have a high likelihood and consequence to your workers, focusing your H, S & W system on CRITICAL RISK is the answer to reducing safety clutter. Focus your planning, controlling, monitoring, measuring and continual improvement on what’s important.
- How many SOPs do you have? If you have a lot of SOPs how many of these relate to your critical risks or high-risk equipment? If many don’t, then question if you need them and if these areas could be covered in the induction using a golden rules approach. Declutter your documentation.
- How long do your daily or weekly toolbox talks last? If they go for more than 5 to 10 minutes, you’re off the mark. Hit the key risks and controls, chat about any incidents, near miss or safe observations from the previous day and then “crack on”, keep it real. Keep the messages simple. Even better, integrate this into your daily worksite operational meetings, normalise the safety conversation.
- How much paper are you pushing? If you’re pushing heaps then stop!! Evaluate what you are doing and what really needs to occur in the H, S & W system. Use software to simplify processes and increase workers engagement. If you have good communication and consultation in a workforce, the H, S & W occurs organically.
To reduce the safety clutter, this is the end 😊.
To summarise, more documentation and paper does not lead to better safety. Keep it simple and real focusing on critical risk and you are on the right track.