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.
ETTO – the efficiency-thoroughness trade-off – is an important part of Erik Hollnagel’s Safety II concept (ioshmagazine.com/article/s-safety-ii), which in turn influenced the safety differently approach described by Sidney Dekker and popularised in the UK by John Green, programme HSE director at Battersea Power Station Development Company. And yet, while just cultures, “the curious why” and hindsight bias have become popular ideas, ETTO doesn’t get much coverage.
Approved Codes of Practice (ACoPs) published by the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) are described in textbooks as having a “quasi-legal status”. The HSE never uses this term, instead explaining that each ACoP has “special legal status. If you are prosecuted for breach of health and safety law, and it is proved that you have not followed the relevant provisions of the code, a court will find you at fault unless you can show that you have complied with the law in some other way.”
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