Month: July 2017

Safety and Leadership

The definition of safety leadership often confuses people because the terms ‘leadership’ and ‘management’ are often thought of as synonymous. In fact, managers are part of an organisation’s structural hierarchy and so their role is to formally control their subordinates. In contrast, a safety leader sets and monitors the standards of safe behaviour within their organisation in order to effect positive change and influence co-workers. Safety leaders can be found at all levels of an organisation, from senior executives, through to middle level such as site managers, and on to front-line supervisors. However, it’s likely that senior management is not aware of, or the most conversant with the dangers of a specific task or job. Rather, their role is to ensure that the workforce is aware that safety leaders will exhibit and explain the actions that keep everyone protected from workplace threats and hazards. Safety leaders do not rule by authority; instead, their conduct influences co-workers to improve their own standards. In the past, safety management has been driven from the top, with a tendency for it to become stuck at the front-line management level. This means that those workers most likely to engage in unsafe behaviour or to be injured have traditionally been unconnected from the safety improvement process. Safety leadership overcomes this by working with those most likely to be hurt. The leaders become actively engaged in...

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Safety and Attitude

What exactly is a workplace safety attitude? One definition states that a workplace safety attitude refers to an employee’s tendency to respond positively or negatively towards a safety goal, idea, plan, procedure, prevention or situation. It’s a fact that your work attitude not only affects how well you do your job, but also affects how safe you are when you’re doing it. Attitude could be described as the spark that drives your behaviour. Your attitudes are made up of: • Emotions or feelings which are driven by your mental state at any particular time • Your beliefs or opinions derived from your faith or upbringing • Your inclination (or not!) for action, usually driven by your opinions • Your positive or negative response to stimuli, giving rise to your actions If you have a positive attitude, you tend to derive a great deal of satisfaction from your life and your work. Positive people seldom give up. They usually perform well in the workplace because they are motivated to maintain an open mind, are receptive to new ideas, pay attention to details and consider the possible outcomes of the ways in which they act. They develop safe work habits because, among other things, they are always looking for ways to improve. There are many ways to identify those workers with positive attitudes, such as the ability to think first and...

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Safety and Health

Most of us spend the major part of our lives either away at work or in our homes. We like to think we’re safe in those familiar environments and we seldom spare a thought for anything within them that could affect our health and wellbeing. When we hear the words ‘health and safety’, the usual visions that spring to mind are people falling off ladders, repetitive strain injuries, collapsing scaffolding and the like. We’re less likely to think about stress and the potential damage from unhealthy lifestyles or sleep disorders. It’s pretty easy to see if the mandatory hard hat, protective eyewear or safety gloves are being worn on the work site, but it’s not so easy to ascertain someone’s state of mind. How can we tell if Shane is worried about being laid off, or if Talia is being hassled by a senior with unreasonable work demands? Look for the warning signs of stress, both in yourself and in others. • trouble concentrating • fatigue • low morale • anxiety or irritability • alcohol or drug use • overeating or loss of appetite • workplace incidents • workplace violence Warning signs can show themselves in four different ways: • Physical, such as headaches, high blood pressure and insomnia • Psychosocial, such as defensiveness, mood swings or depression • Cognitive, such as decreased attention, forgetfulness, or lowered problem-solving ability...

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Where is the leadership?

By Doug Wright   Grenfell Tower Tragic Cladding Fire, London   After the horror of London’s deadly Grenfell Tower, it comes as a shock to learn that Australian buildings are clad in millions of square metres of flammable cladding that breach the Australian building code. Even worse, authorities have been aware of this since at least 2010. Leadership? NOT!   There are up to 2700 buildings in Sydney that use this type of cladding for energy ­efficiency and the sake of appearance. The Victorian Building Authority has identified 86 buildings in Melbourne with suspected non-compliant cladding, and yet, these...

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