How safe is safe for workers in extreme environments?

After many years of working at the “coal face” where risks on paper are very real, I have often wondered whether our systems are robust enough to accurately detect risks and whether sometimes a simplistic box ticking approach to risk management is doing more harm than good. In essence, are we eliminating risk, by identifying and addressing hazards in isolation, or are we just changing the risk, sometimes without fully appreciating that we are doing it. As such I am proposing a Risk Management Continuum approach, a framework that Optimised Human Performance bases our consultancy services on. I will address the elements in greater detail in a later post, however I offer the following thoughts to get started.

Humans, their strengths and their limitations, are the most critical part of any system. How we prepare them, train them and treat them directly impacts our likelihood of success.

The Equipment that we provide our people, be that protective equipment (PPE) or performance equipment (weapons or tools), can enhance us or limit us. Understanding the needs of your workers should be a critical part of equipment procurement and use.

Our working Environment critically impacts on our ability to do work. How we adapt our workers to the environment, or make changes to our interaction with the environment is critical to our success.

Our procedures and our Policy can guide us to a better solution, or if poorly devised and delivered, hinder our success. Considering the other factors in the continuum, good policy maximises our chances of success and reduces our risk of failure.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Dr Anthony Walker

Dr Anthony Walker

I'm a human performance specialise, using cutting edge research and science to optimise the performance of workers in high pressure environments.

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