No such thing as an accident…

“There is no such thing as an accident, only a failure of Management!”

Said in the context of the Construction Industry, and in particular the South African Construction Industry which has recently seen many “accidents” being splurged across newspaper headlines; this statement is bound to stir up some debate amongst industry stakeholders (and especially Management!). This is good though… the conversation MUST be had, and the premise behind the statement is 100% correct in my opinion… ACCIDENTS ARE PREVENTABLE!

I recently attended a seminar on “Designing for Construction Health & Safety”, presented by the highly knowledgeable, straight talking and always entertaining Prof John Smallwood & Dr. Claire Deacon of ACHASM (Association of Construction Health & Safety Management). It was a brilliant seminar, packed full of alarming statistics, examples of failures, practical insights and plenty of “warnings” for Construction stakeholders to take heed of – in order to prevent these “accidents” that seem to be common practise in our industry nowadays.

It certainly had me squirming in my seat at times, thinking of what I as “Management” on a construction site could’ve done differently or better to prevent even the so-called “minor incidents” or “near misses” …

- How seriously do we as managers really take incidents or near misses on our sites?

- Do we as Managers insist on incorporating health & safety into the design, planning and documentation stages of a project?

- Are risk management matrices and method statements really interrogated by Management prior to being implemented on site, or just seen as a paper exercise?

- What lessons are learnt and implemented to prevent these from reoccurring?

- Are lessons learnt and good practices shared within the organisation or industry?

- How frequently do we review or improve on these findings/procedural implementations on our sites?

- Is health and safety really a priority on our construction sites?

There are many questions that management need to consider in terms of construction health and safety … and perhaps the only question to ask as a Manager is “Are you doing enough to prevent accidents on your site?”

I would suggest you attend a seminar by ACHASM on this matter to “get a wake-up call” or contact Prof John Smallwood directly to find out when the next seminar is being run in your area. See following LinkedIn link on the next seminar being offered…

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