….Have you thought about having an Accident instead?
Written by Ken Starkey, Health & Safety Manger at DBD
“No RIDDOR reportable incidents for more than three years
“I had worked for DBD for four years when in 1997 I was sent on a one day local authority health and safety awareness course. Upon my return, I was asked to look after the health and safety needs of the company alongside my principal duties as Transport Manager. At that time there was a Site Work Method Statement, and a couple of safety memos in the file.
As DBD grew, and the burden of legislation increased and by 2006 it was necessary to look after health and safety on a full time basis. 22 days of studying and exams followed, and now H&S has its own computerised Management System developed in house.
In the early days comments such as “health & safety is a pain in the brain” etc., but the reply “try having an accident instead if you want something painful to think about” has been helpful in concentrating the mind and creating a positive safety culture at DBD, which is really producing good results.
The Health & Safety Forum was set up, chaired by Corporate Director Bob Barnard. It now meets quarterly and takes an active interest in promoting safety initiatives. Improved methods for accident reporting and review includes all near misses and safety concerns reported by employees. Staff consultation has improved with monthly safety briefings for all departments giving opportunities for feedback, and focusing attention on the causes of accidents and ill health.
Results: No RIDDOR reportable incidents for more than three years. Time off work as a result of injuries has fallen even though the number employed has increased, bringing a reduction in costs to the company and the pain experienced as a result. So far in 2014, there has been a 50% reduction in minor injuries reported, with two consecutive months having no reports at all.
Now, retirement calls, and I will shortly be handing over the brief to a new assistant. Much has changed over the years for the better, and I am pleased to have had a part in the H & S improvements that have taken place. But progress will continue as work to improve systems and documentation is already in hand. Simplified one page Risk Assessments and Method Statements have been introduced and will be expanded to cover all main tasks. Managers will continue to involve staff in safety discussions to find solutions to remaining hazards and further promote the safety culture at DBD.
If you “think health and safety is a pain” you will be in a minority at DBD. People here are trying hard to avoid the alternative…. the pain of accidents instead.”