Risk control is one part of your hazard management process and your WHS system. It's also our focus for this, part two, of our “better appreciating WHS principles through cricket” series. Risk control is about minimising and managing the risks you can’t eliminate. In cricket, it can look like putting on a box when you go out to bat. You can't remove the possibility of a family jewel strike, but you can avoid a crushing outcome. Let's explore.
We began this series by appreciating WHS legislation, its significance, and its impact. Today we look at risk control, and next week we’ll explore safe work practices that encourage teamwork and initiative.
Risk Control by the Numbers
Technically, risk control involves the application of a four to six-level hierarchy of control (depending on the model in use). We don't want to get into that today, but we should acknowledge that the overarching goal is to:
- Eliminate hazards and risks - which is ideal.
- Reduce the risk through substitution.
- Reduce the risk through isolation.
- Reduce the risk through engineering
- Reduce the exposure and harm levels through administrative
- Reduce consequences through the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) - last resort
The two principles we are about to consider are an enhancement to the application of these goals - they do not replace them.
A Quick Look Back
If you're a regular reader of our blog, it's been (perhaps) a month, and for those who are here for the first time, an introduction might be helpful. Either way, here's a quick review.
In last month's article, we focused on two topics:
- How to Not be Hit for Six | Don't Make a Bad Situation Worse, and
- Playing your Wicket | WHS Legislation in Your Workplace.
In the first, we discussed the case of a truck driver tragically killed in a forklift accident. We looked at the horrendous response that took place, the preparations that were lacking, and the industrial manslaughter charges that followed.
In the second, we focused on factors you cannot control, must respond to, but can easily fail to. We invited you to make a sober inspection of 'your wicket', your realities, and those things you might be missing.
We also suggested to you some:
- Incident and injury resources, including policy, procedural and reporting documents.
- The WHS Audit Checklist, Audit Register and Legislative Requirements Register.
- Our WHS Management System.
You can access that first article here, where you'll also find our lame dad-joke about oversized cricket balls (chirp, chirp).
In this article, we discuss the next two principles.
Principle 3 | 'Being Cricket' | Risk Control and Embodying Principles.
Being cricket is about embodying the game's character - not merely its skills but also its ethos. It's a good principle for risk management also. When someone loses their cool on a cricket pitch, a teammate might say, "Oi, cool down. Be cricket". It's an invitation to lift their game above the immediate and the emotional.
We're inviting you to think about how you carry yourself as a Risk Management and WHS professional. We're asking you to ask yourself: "Do I EMBODY the principles of risk control? Do I walk the walk, or do I merely talk the talk?"
Work health and safety is a space inhabited by serious people who are 'being cricket'. It's not a place for the flippant or the casual. It's the difference between life, injury and death.
A Crushing Example
In the case of SafeWork NSW v Sandhu Construction Group Pty Ltd (SCGrp), a bricklaying project at a worksite went all wrong. SCGrp was the PCBU, and they subcontracted an individual to do the work. Before the wall was completed, the masonry brick wall collapsed due to high wind, crushing the contractor. Serious injuries followed, including a severe traumatic brain injury and permanent damage to his right eye.
The court concluded that SCGrp's failures were serious, and its culpability was high. They were fined $665,000.
Would a More Embodied Approach Have Made a Difference?
Yes! It would have - and both the PCBU and the contractor failed.
- A commitment to following the Australian Standard (AS 3700:2018) would have seen the masonry structures braced;
- Someone living out WHS principles would have set up an exclusion zone or barricade.
- A risk assessment was not completed, which is fundamental.
- The safe work method statement (SWMS) was incomplete, not masonry specific and was not signed by the contractor. Here also, these are fundamentals of WHS practice. Nobody was living this as a lifestyle.
- The PCBU failed to give appropriate directions - and these flow naturally from someone committed to living out risk control and worker safety.
- The contractor was not given sufficient training or induction - which are also fundamentals for WHS professionals.
No one was 'being cricket'.
Principle 4 | Catching Someone Out | Risk Control Requires Some 'Sneaky'.
But what if you don't have active and embodied commitment across your team? What if a mistake is made due to error, laziness, or other reason? How do you identify and correct the error BEFORE it becomes an accident or an incident occurs?
The simple answer is: See it, then fix it!
Unapologetic, proactive and consequential supervision is a profound principle for any construction site. This calls for an obvious supervisory presence on-site that is:
- Unapologetic - done without communicating regret or a sense of wrongdoing.
- Proactive - acting upon the workspace, rather than in reaction to it, and
- Consequential - having results or effects attached, ideally for the good and the bad.
An example will help, using an area we can all probably relate to. I'm no speed-demon when I drive, but I also don't watch the speedo; I tend to 'go with the flow'. But if I start noticing more Highway Patrol cars around, I tend to become speed conscious. Similarly, if I learned that the Highway Patrol presence in my area had been increased 400% and that half of those cars were unmarked, I would definitely start being speed conscious. Would you?
How conscious are your workers of being caught out?
So here's the principle: Catch Someone out, do it well, record it and don't be afraid to be sneaky about it. No one has a right to being warned. You're allowed to check, and you're expected to conduct unapologetic, proactive and consequential supervision - and if you catch someone scream out, "How'z Zaaaaaaaaaaaaat?!".
No. Don't do that. :)
Risk Control Looks Like …
Risk control is best achieved by people who:
- Embody WHS principles as a part of who they are, and
- Are active in workspaces where checks (even sneaky checks) are done.
Partly with this in mind, we developed our Risk Management Forms Pack. This pack provides a comprehensive range of tools to help you 'be cricket' and 'catch people out' in a proactive and risk-reducing way.
It includes all the resources you need to define, identify and manage associated risks:
- An easy to understand Risk Management Process Flowchart,
- A Risk Action Plan for addressing specific risks.
- Checklists for Hazard Identification, Office and Warehouse Inspections, Manual Handling, and Plant and Equipment Hazards.
- Forms for Hazard Reporting, Risk Assessment, Risk Treatment, and Risk Action Planning.
At $195 (ex), it saves you 30% on the cumulative item price (if you brought them all separately). If you're an in-form batsman, that's like enjoying an eight-ball over and a couple of extra boundaries.
What’s more, we’re offering 20% discount on online purchases this January. That means, if purchased during January, this package comes down to $156 (EX). That’s a $97.50 saving on the cumulative purchase price.
Again, you can find that Risk Management Forms Pack here.
"Stumps and Drinks!" is the Call
The series isn’t over, but that’s it for today. The club-house and a laugh with teammates beckons.
Remember, this month we’re offering 20% discount on online purchases. Next month we'll do the remaining two principles and tie it all together.
To discuss any of the products mentioned, other products, or you have a question related to this topic, WHS in general, or specific problems you are facing, phone 1800 304 336. Alternatively, fill out the contact form to request a callback, and you'll usually hear back from us the same day. When it comes to WHS and risk control, we 'be cricket' all year round -THIS is what we do.
Endnote | An Example of a Poor Risk Control
Who: Sandhu Construction Group Pty Ltd
Where and when: New South Wales, August 2017.
Event: A masonry brick wall collapsed while being constructed. A subcontractor received traumatic brain, facial, cranial, eye and arm injuries.
WHS Legislative Charges: Section 32/19(1) of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (NSW).