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"Red Tape" saves lives

"Red Tape" saves lives

Old Jan 27th 2020, 2:46 pm
  #31  
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Default Re: "Red Tape" saves lives

Originally Posted by Cape Blue View Post
....The highly qualified engineers (in Holland) who needed to fix a stuff bin-lifter and were working on the drive motor directly underneath the bin that was stuck up in the air - no consideration for whether a bin with a tonne of material could come down on top of them (one fatality, one very damaged).
That's interesting and scary, and closely relates to my own experience.

As far as I know the warehouse where I worked was compliant with all applicable H&S regulations, but the warehouse contained hundreds of pallets loaded with 500Kg-800Kg of product and were stored in racking as high as 25ft. It wasn't uncommon for a pallet to not be square on the racking bars, and also from time to time a forklift operator would bump against another pallet, either in an adjacent racking space, or in the row behind, and therefore occasionally this would lead to a pallet coming down, with half a tonne or more of biscuits. The pallet alone could have caused a very serious and potentially fatal injury, though thankfully I am not aware that anyone was ever seriously injured in the warehouse where I worked.

All that said, I was surprised, and said as much to the foreman on more than one occasion, that we weren't so much as issued with hard hats. The savvy warehouse staff, including me, would keep a close eye on forklifts operating in the same or adjoining aisles.
.... the reality is we need to treat anyone on-site as a complete dummy and enact systems and infrastructure and enforcement accordingly.
Unfortunately yes. As I posted on another thread recently, if I have only learned one thing so far in life, it is that common sense is probably misnamed.
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Old Jan 28th 2020, 6:45 am
  #32  
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Default Re: "Red Tape" saves lives

Further to my post above, I'm not against H&S as a concept in any way, and after reading the examples of incidents that the following posters described I thoroughly agree that H&S is a must to protect workers, as they may or may not have the relevant experience. In an industrial setting safety of the workforce should take precedence over productivity.

My situation is slightly different. I'm a geologist and I work in the natural environment, mostly in the mountains, often all year round. As such, the risks to me are based around remote areas, difficult access, falls, bites/stings, high temps (45 degs C in the summer average), exhaustion / dehydration..... etc.

If we are planning a new road / rail or whatever I'm one of the first on site as I need to go out and undertake a geological assessment / identify geohazards etc. This generally involves walking the alignment as tunnels mostly go through mountains.

So the problem is now that the H&S people only consider the risks, not the experience of the individuals.

I've spent the majority of my life in mountains in one part of the world or another. My father was special forces later becoming a professional mountaineer. Every weekend from when I could walk we were in the mountains (winter and summer) either walking or climbing and so my training reflects his military training to a large extent (he was a cliff assault and snow warfare instructor in the Royal Marines). For the last near 1 1/2 decades I've been walking round the mountains of the Middle East, so you would assume I would have a better grasp of the risks and mitigation measures than someone who sits at a desk all day. Risks that they have identified (which are mostly incomplete) can be mitigated by my knowledge, skills and experience of the environment I am in.

We had a similar incident recently where a sub contracted diver died on one of our maritime sites. The main contractor knew our requirements, had provided a method statement, H&S plan etc etc which had been reviewed and approved as per the QA/QC plan etc. However, the main contractor then subbied out the work (unknown to us). The subbie they brought in didn't follow any of the above, wasn't qualified for the task, was ill equipped etc and a guy died. This then resulted in our companies H&S team stating all company diving activities were banned globally.... which when your company has many projects where diving is required was ridiculous and an example of a massive over reaction. Suddenly we had tens of millions of dollars of work that we couldn't do due to H&S making a decision based on a subject he knew nothing about. All our divers are specialist and highly qualified / experienced.

I guess what I'm getting at is that I believe H&S folk have too much of a broad brush, they should be more specialised in the industry they work in. I know this is the case in some industries, O&G etc but not all.

Funnily enough, my mum used to be a H&S director for a large energy provider in the UK. I often teased her when she was writing policies by asking what she knew about climbing to the top of electricity pylons....
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Old Jan 28th 2020, 9:40 am
  #33  
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Default Re: "Red Tape" saves lives

Originally Posted by jam25mack View Post
.Funnily enough, my mum used to be a H&S director for a large energy provider in the UK. I often teased her when she was writing policies by asking what she knew about climbing to the top of electricity pylons....
Agreed, but I'll respond to the bit I'm quoting.

Like you say very few H&S managers seem to have experience of doing the jobs they're overseeing the safety of. Gone are the days of old when an experienced worker moved up to foreman then management. It became a job requiring a University degree but very little real-life experience.
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