Learning lessons from disasters
Sheila Pantry OBE
Disasters seem to be around us more and more - we constantly hear, via the various media formats, about fires, explosions, chemical and nuclear leaks, accidents and incidents, tornados and structural collapses are all included. So are events that are less high-profile but nevertheless offer important information for improving future risk management. Some events thankfully kill no-one but cost millions to put right. Others, such as asbestos, crept up on unsuspecting workers, causing fatal diseases many years after exposure. Other disasters such explosions at fuel stores; environmental pollution; accidents with high explosives; shipwrecks; offshore oil disasters; air crashes; accidents in space; mining accidents; railway collisions; crowd crushes; stadium tragedies; human factor; floods; silent killers - carcinogens and public and animal health present challenges for everyone. Learning to reduce hazards, risks, knowing about the politics of disaster and establishing a culture of safety all takes time and experience.
This is why so many opportunities for learning are missed. It is worth spending time reading reports and other publications and putting into action, and constantly updating safer and healthier procedures in all workplaces. You will find many such pieces of advice and guidance in OSH UPDATE www.oshupdate.com and in FIREINF www.fireinf.com
The electronic services OSH UPDATE www.oshupdate.com and FIREINF www.fireinf.com will help you and your organisation to keep up-to-date. These services continue to bring you the latest information on health, safety, environment, fire and other subjects that you will find useful in your daily work.
OSH UPDATE and FIREINF services contain both full text and bibliographic information are continuously enlarged as new information is published. These services are used by organisations, universities and companies worldwide.
Don't re-invent the wheel ... learn from others!
OSHWORLD - your portal to some of the best OSH web sites in the world
Also look at the portal OSHWORLD www.oshworld.com and view the latest additions to the Diary of Events where you will see that plans have been made up to late 2011 and now into 2012 to have training courses, symposiums, webinars and conferences in many places in the world on a wide range of subjects. Don't forget to budget for these events - make sure that you and your colleagues are up-to-date with the very latest knowledge - remember that all workplaces and those working in them change, so continue to do your risk assessments.
In these days of tighter budgets perhaps training may be put on the "back-burner" - but think again how you can keep up with the latest techniques and training opportunities.
Remember that even if you cannot attend these many events, speakers and organisers are often willing to share their knowledge. Look at the details - where possible, we add in the web sites of these events so you can request further information. And do let me know if you are organising any OSHE events so that I can add them to the Diary.
It is always good to review health, safety, chemical, fire and environment procedures on a regular basis. It is also important that the practices and systems in the workplace are constantly reviewed and if necessary, improved. This review may also indicate training requirements and updates and re-thinking how systems and services can be improved. This is where the free-of charge OSHWORLD can help you.
Globally there are continually new titles, news items, new products so remember to look at the News to find the latest information from a number of authoritative sources such as the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, the UK Health and Safety Executive and US NIOSH. Use OSHWORLD as your portal to many hundreds of validated and authoritative web sites which you can find in the Country and Subject links we offer. New subject topics are constantly brought together on web sites, e.g. nanotechnology.
This month's FOCUS is entitled EU-OSHA announces 10th European Good Practice Awards on World Day for Safety and Health at Work.
Remember to look at the Products and Services on this web site and see what is new and updated.
Don't work harder - work smarter! Be ahead of the game.
Are you hoping to have a zero accident, incident-free and healthy year in 2011 in your workplace? Some would argue that this is not possible! But keep on trying!
And do continue to make plans for your campaigns for 2011 and beyond!