Debate the truth or make an impact on safety

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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.'

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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Debate the truth or make an impact on safety

  1. 1. Life of Brian, an angry Bear, Wikipedia,Coins, a debate, a Philosopher, an Email,some Random Thoughts, a Chart, andthe French Revolution.Richard ColemanGM Safety Asciano 1
  2. 2. You are all Individuals Brian – Life of Brian – Monty Python 2
  3. 3. The fact that the Great(x1000) Grandmother ofthis bear didn’t eat yourGreat (x 1000)Grandmother is part ofthe miracle that makesup the uniqueness of you. 3
  4. 4. The main criteria for professionals include the following: • Expert and specialized knowledge in field which one is practicing professionally. • Excellent manual/practical and literary skills in relation to profession. • High quality work • A high standard of professional ethics, behaviour and work activities while carrying out ones profession • Reasonable work morale and motivation. • Appropriate treatment of relationships with colleagues. • A professional is an expert who is a master in a specific field. Definition – sourced and then edited from Wikipedia 4
  5. 5. 5
  6. 6. Responsibilities & No risk managementAccountabilities & contractor mgt!!! + = Delay
  7. 7. Pragmatism asks its usual question."Grant an idea or belief to be true,"it says, "what concrete differencewill its being true make in anyonesactual life? How will the truth berealized? What experiences will bedifferent from those which wouldobtain if the belief were false?What, in short, is the truths cash-value in experiential terms?” William James - Philosopher
  8. 8. A Challenge For PragmatismFrom: Hands, PeterSent: Tuesday, 29 Januar y 2013 5:51 PMTo: Coleman, RichardSubject:Richard as mentioned at the Coal QB R last Friday, I have become aware that the we are proposing tochange the current 6 x 6 risk assessment matrix to an alpha numeric 6 x 6 matrix, see attacheddocuments. Plus the new standard also proposes to change the d efinition / guidelines as to how toassess the risks in terms of likelihood and consequences.Not sure what is driving these changes could you please shed some light on where this has come from.numerical ranking of risk is practiced widely and I see the alpha numeric approach confusing. Also theproposed guide is less specific then the current tool, hence less user friendly.The document titled Risk Management Standard final is the proposed document, the HIRA C documentcontains the current assessment matrix.Your thoughts,regards Peter
  9. 9. Culture? Is behaviour tangible? Bigger text... Create real practical tangible changes to work that result in less people getting hurt or sick ContractorsSustainability? What else could you be other than human? Why ‘real’ What about & ‘practical’ ‘zero harm’? 9
  10. 10. Have you ever implemented something thatmade no difference and you were the cause?Have you ever debated process content thatmakes no or little difference to end users?Have you ever stuck to your guns becauseyou’ve been ‘right’ but in hindsight it didn’tmatter?
  11. 11. Stop focussing on the minutiae of the control and think about implementation Extent of Implementation 1% 2% 5% 10% 15% 20% 30% 50% 80% 90% 100%Maximum risk reduction 1% 0.01% 0.02% 0.05% 0.10% 0.15% 0.20% 0.30% 0.50% 0.80% 0.90% 1.00% 2% 0.02% 0.04% 0.10% 0.20% 0.30% 0.40% 0.60% 1.00% 1.60% 1.80% 2.00% 5% 0.05% 0.10% 0.25% 0.50% 0.75% 1.00% 1.50% 2.50% 4.00% 4.50% 5.00% 10% 1.00% 0.20% 0.50% 1.00% 1.50% 2.00% 3.00% 5.00% 8.00% 9.00% 10.00% 15% 0.15% 0.30% 0.75% 1.50% 2.25% 3.00% 4.50% 7.50% 12.00% 13.50% 15.00% 20% 0.20% 0.40% 1.00% 2.00% 3.00% 4.00% 6.00% 10.00% 16.00% 18.00% 20.00% 30% 0.30% 0.60% 1.50% 3.00% 4.50% 6.00% 9.00% 15.00% 24.00% 27.00% 30.00% 50% 0.50% 1.00% 2.50% 5.00% 7.50% 10.00% 15.00% 25.00% 40.00% 45.00% 50.00% 80% 0.80% 1.60% 4.00% 8.00% 12.00% 16.00% 24.00% 40.00% 64.00% 72.00% 80.00% 90% 0.90% 1.80% 4.50% 9.00% 13.50% 18.00% 27.00% 45.00% 72.00% 81.00% 90.00% 100% 1.00% 2.00% 5.00% 10.00% 15.00% 20.00% 30.00% 50.00% 80.00% 90.00% 100.00% You need both effective controls & effective implementation to make a difference
  12. 12. Manifesto• Remember that I’m a change agent• I implement with deep interest• Search for simple solutions• Know that I’m a leader not just a facilitator• Develop self-awareness• Own the outcomes not just the process• Work all statements so they fit the acronym• Never give up seeking opportunities to be pragmatic

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