Son, I’m the captain of a crab boat. My responsibility is not to get you home alive. My responsibility is to get you home rich. You want to get home alive? That’s on you.”
And for the rest of the day? Safety first …
– Mike Rowe, TED Talk from “Learning from dirty jobs“.
when you have endured two years of offensive remarks or conduct, including a rape threat and has not been able to work since July 2010.
In the words of Maurice Blackburn senior associate Holly Pinnis
“Kate was subject to behaviour no one should ever have to endure. The fact that this happened at her workplace under her employer’s nose makes it all the more shocking.”
“This case puts all employers on notice. If you have an employee being harassed and bullied, you can’t sit on your hands. “
- Pole dancing during work breaks
- Melbourne sex harassment payout: Worker Kate Mathews wins $1.3m in personal injury damages
- Female worker awarded million dollar payout over years of ‘hardcore filth’ at Melbourne construction company
- Mathews v Winslow Constructors (Vic) Pty Ltd  VSC 728 (17 December 2015)
- Cessna 305 streams engine oil onto the fuselage. Pilot was distracted while filling up the engine oil, and had left the oil filler cap off.
- 4WD reverses over 3 year old boy
- Baby left in car, dies from hyperthermia
The link between all these, is the distractions which occurred.
A study published in June 2002 titled “The Stressed Hippocampus, Synaptic Plasticity and Lost Memories” concludes in part
“Stress, a naturalistic factor that contributes to memory impairments, constitutes a significant problem in today’s increasingly populous and long-living society.”
Or to put it another way:
‘The important factors that keep showing up involve a combination of stress, emotion, lack of sleep and change in routine, where the basal ganglia is trying to do what it’s supposed to do, and the conscious mind is too weakened to resist. What happens is that the memory circuits in a vulnerable hippocampus literally get overwritten, like with a computer program. Unless the memory circuit is rebooted—such as if the child cries, or, you know, if the wife mentions the child in the back—it can entirely disappear.’
– Professor David Diamond in a March 2009 Washington Post article
What lessons can be learnt?
- Remember that making a mistaking or error can happen to anyone, including you.
- Tiredness is your enemy. If you are tired, you are more likely to make a mistake.
- Be aware of distractions. Eliminate distractions as much as possible.
- Use memory aides, or checklists, as needed.
(I’m a great believer in “Remove Before Flight” streamers.
- Bird Dog Distraction
- Fatal Distraction: Forgetting a Child in the Backseat of a Car Is a Horrifying Mistake. Is It a Crime?
- Flight Safety Australia issue 95 – Being human: Safety and the limits of memory
- Kids and Cars.org
The blog post title was borrowed from a post at On The Floor @Dove.
As part of the Getting Things Done methodology, David Allen talks about the martial arts concept of having a Mind Like Water. I was talking to a friend the other day about it. I mangled the quote at the time Jules, so here is the actual quote:
Imagine throwing a peddle into a still pond. How does the water respond? The answer is, totally appropriately to the force and mass of the input; then it returns to calm. It doesn’t over-react or under-react.
– David Allen
Zendictive has a better version of the parable. And some advice on controlling feelings.
From Zen Psychiatry, the STOP acronym:
Stop when you realise you’re about to get hijacked by your reaction.
Take a Breath
Observe how your body is reacting.
Proceed when you’ve done the first three (STO)
Particularly in the case of CO2 fire extinguishers, where the complimentary use of them is “cooling beer cans” .
Spent the morning looking at the number of fire extinguishers needed in an Australian office building (ie. a Class 5 building).
Here’s the process I followed as a Health and Safety Representative:
First I grabbed a copy of the Building Code of Australia. It’s also known as the National Construction Code Series. From that I find out that:
- Part E1.6 – Portable fire extinguishers
Portable fire extinguishers must be provided as listed in Table E1.6 and must be selected, located and distributed in accordance with Sections 1, 2, 3 and 4 of AS2444
- Table E1.6 Requirements for extinguishers talks about the types of extinguishers required, not the number.
- So we need to open a copy of Australian Standard 2444 – Portable fire extinguishers and fire blankets – Selection and location.
Section 4 – Distribution of portable fire extinguishers in buildings is the section I need.
And that’s where things start to get rubbery.
- Is the fire risk a Class A risk or a Class B risk?
- What is the fire hazard level?
- Is the fire extinguisher(s) the primary protection or a complementary protection?
Complementary protection is “where fire extinguishers are provided to complement a fixed automatic fire suppression system complying with the requirements of AS 2118 (all parts) or AS 4214 (all parts), extinguishers shall be distributed in accordance with Table 4.x”
Yes, I’ve blurred the details out. Go buy your own copies of the relevant Australian Standards.
AS 1851-2012 Routine service of fire protection systems and equipment
AS 2444—2001 Portable fire extinguishers and fire blankets—Selection and location
National Construction Code Series – Building Code of Australia
I was looking though some OH&S training notes, and this explanation of how Australian Standards are used with OH&S laws in Victoria, seems quite useful:
Australian standards outline the minimum requirements that assist any organisation to achieve it’s minimum regulatory requirements. They are vehicles for communication between producers and users, establishing a common language, which defines quality and establishes safety criteria.
There are over 6000 Standards maintained by approximately 9000 volunteer experts serving on around 1700 technical committees, supported by a full-time staff of 280. Standards give you extra information related to health and safety in the workplace that are not included or detailed in either regulations or codes of practice.”
-CGU Safety and Risk Services – 5 Day HSR Course 2012
Which, is often followed by “I thought there was a 15kg limit”.
Long story, short (in Victoria Australia), there isn’t any.
However, the Regulations require the employer to identify any task which involves hazardous manual handling, and then take actions to either eliminate or reduce the hazard and/or the associated risks. The Regulations include any task requiring the ‘application of high force’ as hazardous manual handling.
– OHS Reps @ Work: Weight limits – what are the legal limits for lifting?
The following references might also be useful:
A guide to Handling large, bulk or awkward items
Code of Proactive for Manual Handling, Part 3
Manual Order Picking (talks about "safe" lift zones)
Moving and Lifting Objects
Children’s Services – OH&S Kit
OHS in Commercial Laundries and Drycleaners