An article in today’s IOSH news relates to the perils of allowing workers to make their own decisions about correct procedures for working on site.
As a company manager or director you are responsible for the undertakings of your workers – it will probably say so in your policy. If one of your workers is allowed to start using plant that they are not trained to use, then what could happen next is up to you as mentioned above. Crucially, will you do anything about it or let it go?
Normal health and safety arrangements such as risk assessment, safe systems of work, training and supervision are simple to implement when an organisation believes in the process. However, we often see resistance to sensible arrangements being implemented and the reasons for failing to do so will range from lack of knowledge, peer-pressure, cost, perceived difficulty and insufficient time. We have to believe that no one truly sets out to work in a dangerous way day after day but the perception of risk and the odds of it going wrong, when left to workers alone, can unfortunately have tragic results when an individual’s gamble doesn’t work out.
Its fine to gamble with money (that you can afford to lose) but its not acceptable to have workers gamble with each others lives and limbs, especially when they are working for you. Workers are seldom qualified to make real risk judgments and will often make flawed assumptions about risk and consequences.
What might have started as a light touch regime with the company mentioned in the article to become a free for all without controls.
If you would like pragmatic advice about safety systems that you and your workers can apply on sites you are responsible for then get in touch. Or maybe its worth the gamble that nothing will go wrong?