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The Big PictureTuesday, 23 November 2010 (2354 reads)

What are the differences between a "risk aware" company vs. a "risk denying" company?

You've probably noticed your local OH&S agency promoting the importance of talking about safety and good communication in your business - a theme promoted by every OH&S agency throughout Australia at the moment.  It is not hard to understand why efficient communication is vital for gathering together the facts to tackle OH&S issues.  It's well known that things like toolbox meetings (shopfloor discussions) and having OH&S as a fixed item in management meetings are very useful communication tools but it is also extremely useful to look at something talked about less commonly, and that is what things tend to make good OH&S communication tricky in a business.

It is important to determine whether your business actively encourages information on what risks are in the workplace and how to fix them (a risk aware business) or is it complacent or reluctant to hear about risks and the resultant action that might be needed to sort out the risk (a risk denying company)? Is communicating safety problems seen as something exceptional or is a matter of practice in the business?

Do you have a situation where the safety rules in your business are "set in stone" or is there recognition that safety rules have to be dynamic and constantly revised based on new information communicated from the shop-floor?

There is no denying that keeping communication working and effective is not necessarily simple. But it can be made simpler if you are on the constant lookout for obstacles to good safety communication. A risk aware business will always test and question the lines of communication. The message is clear from nearly every report on major industrial incidents : a sophisticated, detailed safety management system will be crippled by a risk denying mentality in a company. Keep on the lookout for that happening in your workplace.

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