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How many stairs are there in your home? Unless you live in a bungalow you probably don’t know the answer to this question. Even if you climb up and walk down them every day it is doubtful that you have ever observed them closely. It probably doesn’t seem important.
In considering radiation as a health hazard, two types are identified. The first includes the high-energy end of the electromagnetic spectrum (such as X-rays and gamma rays) as well as particle radiation (such as the alpha and beta particles emitted by radioactive sources). Non-ionising radiation describes the middle and lower energy regions of the spectrum. In the mid-range, optical radiation includes ultraviolet (UV), visible and infrared, and in the lower range electromagnetic fields (EMFs) include those arising from power cables, microwaves and radio sources.
When there is an emergency, our natural fight-or-flight response can result in poor decision making. The traditional solution to this problem has been emergency drills – to make our instinctive reaction to the fire alarm or other alert the “right”
one. The worker hears the bell and evacuates the building or site. The firefighter sees a blaze and tackles it. However, such a drill-and-practice approach is of little use when the unexpected is encountered or when the situation is constantly changing.
Here, a different plan is needed.
The word “latent” is an adjective describing something that lies dormant or hidden until the circumstances are suitable for it to manifest itself. The noun “latency” refers to either the state of having something dormant or the period of time before the manifestation is likely.
If you have come across kanban, it is probably either in lean manufacturing, where it started, or in software engineering, where it has been adopted with enthusiasm as an agile production technique. It could, however, be a valuable tool when applied to occupational safety and health.
In Managing the Risks of Organisational Accidents, published in 1997, James Reason described a “just culture” as “an atmosphere of trust in which people are encouraged, even rewarded, for providing essential safety-related information, but in which they are also clear about where the line must be drawn between acceptable and unacceptable behaviour”.
The new OSH management systems standard ISO 45001 prefers the term “interested party” to its synonym stakeholder, which might be more familiar to readers. Interested party is defined in ISO 45001 (and in the high-level ISO core management standard, Annex SL) as a “person or organisation that can affect, be affected by, or perceive itself to be affected by a decision or activity”.
The Hawthorne effect is often defined as the tendency for people to perform better because they are being observed. Wikipedia and other online sources even use the synonym “observer effect.” This is a massive oversimplification of the original study that gave the effect its name and oversimplification can lead to mistakes in how organisations try to encourage safer employee behaviour.
On 31 July the Sentencing Council for England and Wales published a new guideline for manslaughter applicable to sentences handed down from 1 November (bit.ly/2wjpijJ). Although not specific to safety and health offences, the guideline is expected to lengthen the sentences received by individuals deemed responsible for gross negligence manslaughter (GNM) after fatal accidents at work. A previous article (bit.ly/2BWXw1J) outlined the starting points and ranges for each level of culpability, from one year for the lowest to 18 years for the highest with maximum aggravating factors.
In IOSH Magazine's August 2018 issue, we mentioned that a technique called FRAM could support people in making the right efficiency-time trade-off to prevent accidents (www.ioshmagazine.com/article/e-etto). So what is FRAM?
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