Think about accidents or incidents you’ve personally been exposed to, either directly or indirectly via the news or word of mouth.
Could any of the contributing factors that resulted in those incidents been preventable?
In reality, every single one of them; If they had been foreseeable!
Foreseeable and UNforseeable – Who decides?
The law requires a business to foresee as many of these contributing factors as is reasonably practicable. However, “reasonably practicable” can change if you’re viewing something with the luxury of 20/20 hindsight. Foresight is never 20/20!
Many businesses lose cases in courtrooms that leave you scratching your head as to how they could have been foreseeable.
The problem is that “reasonably practicable” is open to the viewpoint of a judge in court.
Herein lies the challenge for business today!
How do we foresee every contributing factor that could lead to an incident? Furthermore, when we miss something, how do we convince a judge that we did everything reasonably practicable?
Luck and Timing
There’s a saying that the difference between a minor incident and a major one is luck and timing!
Generally, as business owners, we cannot plead that in court.
We’re going to need to provide hard evidence that we did everything possible to foresee the contributing factors.
We need to be diligent with our risk assessments, procedures and monitoring. As a rule, they are the only ways we can identify and control contributing factors.
We also need to investigate incidents or near misses. As a result, we can change our systems to avoid a repeat.
Effective incident management isn’t possible using manila folders, paper templates and filing cabinets anymore.
Health and safety management has completely outgrown these tools.
It needs managing to the same level as our accounting. That is with a systematic, synchronised management system.