BeSafe Blog – Permit Culture

Permits the red herring of workplace health and safety


A culture of compliance does not necessarily make a safety culture, as evidenced by the ongoing problem of workplace accidents.


Let’s be clear, permits and signs do not protect workers. Unfortunately, actual health and safety measures are often forgotten in the rush to complete the paperwork.


As an NZQA and CHASNZ accredited health and safety training provider that helps companies and students, mostly in the construction sector, take ownership of their time and productivity with a blend of online and practical learning courses – there’s no question in our minds that there’s too much emphasis on tick box safety.


We have a culture of paper health and safety, but proper measures like assessing risk, putting in place appropriate controls and ensuring they are enforced does not get the attention it deserves.


In 2022 there is a lot of data and information to help improve how work is performed and that actual freak accidents – the ones nobody saw coming – are incredibly rare.


When a workplace accident occurs, it is usually because of a failure of assessment, process or practice. There needs to be some real education of directors and management around understanding their obligations, as well as of workers.


  1. Cultural shift


Sadly, workplace accidents will continue until there is a significant cultural shift in health and safety regarding both attitudes and practice. The general workplace approach to health and safety is still too blasé. There’s a lot of lip service but very little practical application.


  1. Visible regulation 


The legislation around health and safety is too loose and characterised by sweeping statements but little direction on putting it into practice.


We need more vocal and more visible regulators. The data that we get from Government is out of date by the time it gets to us, so that needs to be more real-time because right now it is a lagging indicator.


  1. Better education


I look forward to when health and safety training is done for the benefit of worker safety instead of the current tick-box culture where there’s too much emphasis on paperwork and less so on skills and proper health and safety practise.

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