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This is a delegate led speaker session which was presented by Richard Coleman, General Manager OHS, Asciano, on 'Debate the truth or make an impact on safety.' ...
This is a delegate led speaker session which was presented by Richard Coleman, General Manager OHS, Asciano, on 'Debate the truth or make an impact on safety.'
American Philosopher William James once said: "Pragmatism asks its usual question. Grant an idea or belief to be true," it says, "what concrete difference will its being true make in anyone's actual life? How will the truth be realised? What experiences will be different from those which would obtain if the belief were false? What, in short, is the truth's cash-value in experiential terms?"
Richard says that he often hears safety people debating the purity of truth but rarely the practical day to day experience of what will be different if one argument holds sway over the other. Think about the debates ISO 18001 versus AS4801, what practical life changing impact does risk assessment matrices have letters or numbers? Should they ascend or descend based on risk? Is it a SWMS or an SWI or a JSA? What matters is the change not the label, the tool or the process.
Richard says that he fears for OHS leaders as a profession because we are losing the connection to lived experience of the front-line, we are spending more time debating the 'truth' not the impact. I want us to have a conversation about that.
Looking at this presentation gives:
- An opportunity to re-think what matters to us as a profession
- Space to debate the underpinning philosophy of what we do
- A bit of fun!
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