THE IMPLEMENTATION OF TOTAL SAFETY SYSTEMS: A MANAGEMENT RESPONSlBlLlTY
Safety legislation has always been vague and words such as ‘reasonably practicable’ have meant that standards of safety are never set and organisations are not encouraged to raise their standards more than legally required. Under the concept of Zero Risk, safety performance needs to become more of a preventative effort by identifying possible hazards and eliminating them before they develop into major disasters.
Measurement of safety performance:
- Many researchers have come to the conclusion that measurement of safety performance has so far been using criteria which are unreliable such as accident reports.
- This is because the data collection methods comprise the collection and analysis of statistics related to accidents and injuries which have actually taken place.
- Most of the companies are only legally required to collect statistics on the type of incidents reportable under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1985.
The statistics collected were traditionally used to determine safety performance by using the following accident rates:
- Accident incidence rate = No of reportable accidents/No of persons at risk per
- Accident frequency rate = Lost-time accidents/Hours worked per hundred
- Accident severity rate = Hours lost through accidents/Hours worked per hundred
This approach to managing safety performance only measures failure and improvements on failure rates of previous years. As such it is a reactive and partial measure since for every serious accident there are a large number of near misses and some minor injuries.
Accident ratios based on three major studies:
- The general consensus suggests that if near misses are eliminated, subsequent accidents, injuries and damages can also be eliminated.
- This is one of the reasons why the concept of Zero Risk is a valid one.
- The ignorance and neglect of near misses by management for such a long time seems to indicate their failure to appreciate the importance of improving safety standards.
- It reflects that they often considered their role in complying with safety legislation by recording only the ‘necessary statistics’ which are failure statistics with limited usefulness for the implementation of safety continuous improvement programmes.