All for the want of ….. the right decision

Recent a colleague was explaining to me how the cost of a project is ballooning and the project is generating a toxic workplaces by some managers not talking to other managers.  The disharmony is doing nothing to control the costs and the juvenile conduct of the managers is spreading the damage throughout the organisation.

My colleague told me that if only the existing, long-standing purchasing and project policies had been followed this situation would not have occurred.  One person did not do their job properly and made a decision that was not substantiated by the policy.  The decision was not checked, for whatever reason, and the project is in serious jeopardy.

Many readers may recognise a similar scenario but often these become very muddy due to office politics, office allegiances etc.  But it is often easier to understand big issues by looking at small cases.  Douglas Law firm posts small court decision reports every so often that summarise OHS matters well.  One of the latest concerns

“In Inspector Phillip Estreich v Hannas Civil Engineering a contractor suffered electric shock when cutting through a conduit pipe which was supposedly empty.

There was a documented safety system where before performing excavation work, a number was to be called which provided information on underground pipes and cabling.  On the day in question the number was not called and the supervisor merely visually inspected the area.  The risk of harm was reasonably foreseeable as electric cables were usually found in orange conduit pipes.  The contractor was left unsupervised to cut the pipes, and had no experience in the area.”

This case is a useful thumbnail that illustrates the consequence of small decisions.

Perhaps, OHS professionals should look to ancient wisdom for current enlightenment.  An old rhyme that I learnt as a child regularly pops into my head when I read about OHS problems.

“For want of a nail the shoe was lost.

For want of a shoe the horse was lost.

For want of a horse the rider was lost.

For want of a rider the battle was lost.

For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.

And all for the want of a nail.”

Kevin Jones

Categories business, consultation, contractor, culture, law, lawyers, OHS, safety, UncategorizedTags ,

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