I’m standing up for business people everywhere. The businesses who know what they are doing and the team of professional tradespeople out there who do a great job. We need to be more proactive and stop, listen and engage.
I receive calls daily from my clients that, to be honest, make me angry. Not with them you understand, but from other Health and Safety professionals they have been in contact with. These are the Health and Safety professionals that should know better and be there to listen and engage the PCBU they are trying to work with.
My clients are often treated with disrespect with larger, bully corporate enterprise insisting on a certain type of information without even trying to understand the other business the risks and the processes they use to keep their team safe.
They are sent forms, templates, registers etc and ordered to attend courses that they never need to do and do not contribute to the safety and wellbeing of them or their people.
As Health and Safety professionals that’s what we need to be…professional. I know that sometimes a great Plumber or Electrician might not know all the jargon that’s out there such as a SSSP or a Task Analysis, but if we just took a moment and spoke to them we would find out what they do know. We would also learn how they intend to work, and quite frankly, in a much plainer, simpler language than that which is sent to them in a demanding tone at the start of the job.
I recently pushed back for a client of mine and asked “Why do they need to wear steel cap boots on site?” My client was a carpet layer, (trust me, it’s a bit difficult to lay carpet in steel caps). The Health and Safety professional’s response was “That’s what everyone has to do”. Quite frankly that’s not what everyone has to do and that advice is lazy Health and Safety practice.
Why should a contracted PCBU have to subscribe to your training regime or attend a course you dictate when they have kept their team up to date and knowledgeable in a way that works for them and keeps them safe?
I constantly hear these concerns:
- If my team haven’t attended a certain course they can’t get on site.
- If I don’t fill out their paperwork and the SSSP on their forms I can’t get the job.
- “It’s the law”, they are telling us.
I say STOP!!
We need to help them help themselves by:
- Getting the scheduling right and not have trades work over top of each other when it puts another trade at risk.
- Having access to the job and site in a safe way.
- Not being lazy but instead taking the time to read what they send in to us (really read it) and understand how that business works and how both PCBUs will work together.
- Understanding that all the PCBUs overlapping duties.
- Stop forcing a process you are happy with onto another business because it makes your job easier.
We also need to help Contractors stop making excuses for why they can’t or won’t do something, or thinking that Health and Safety is still optional.
Only then will we engage correctly and honestly with the one key thing in mind…no one gets harmed on the job.
Download the PDF Worksafe NZ Position on Overlapping Duties.
For more information contact us on 0800 023 789 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Shona Dodd, All About People Senior Health and Safety Specialist