One of the benefits of the Internet is that people are able to distribute their thoughts in a variety of formats. (I am surely not the first to see some parallels with pamphleteering in the 1700s.) In November 2015, Australian safety professional Faith Eeson published Safety & The Three Little Pigs as an e-book.
The book is not a manual or a deep analysis of a particular safety topic. It is a rumination on various safety-related issues with each chapter being no more than a couple of pages each. Eeson peppers the e-book with references to fresh contemporary incidents in Australia, such as the Lindt Cafe siege last year in Sydney or the community prevalence of methamphetamine. It may just the type of e-book that some small business owners made need for reassurance and guidance
Eeson uses the story of the Three Little Pigs to illustrate a growing awareness of risk and how we can fortify our workplaces to respond to new risks. She explains how this process of change and improvement parallels the development of OHS and the refinement of OHS management systems.
Eeson writes that
“It’s great to have a family doctor who knows the family history. They understand the needs and issues of the family and know what actions to take.”
Eeson believes that an OHS consultant or adviser can have a similar role, and they can, but they have to compete against lawyers who have more of the ear of the managing director. Many lawyers promote themselves as safety law experts but the clients hear “safety experts” so often giver the legal advice more prominence than it merits. OHS advisers focus on the prevention of injury and, increasingly, the integration of safety in established business practices.
OHS advisers could be the corporate “family doctor” but must have an extensive knowledge network and a list of specialists and those who can provide second opinions.
Eeson told SafetyAtWorkBlog:
“The reason I wrote the ebook was to educate and bring awareness about the big picture of a safety management system and the importance of implementing a full system and its role in a business.
In my experience, I have found that a good percentage of established businesses continue with a main focus on growth and expansion, with some or little consideration given to a safety management system. They may have some knowledge of health and safety however, struggle with the application of the safety management process, so this may go into their “too hard basket” or bury their heads in the sand.
The message is that safety management is an integral part of the business success and unsafe conditions could be detrimental to the existence of the business. The goal is to take a proactive approach to safety and include preventative strategies that can only be achieved through a safety management system and a quality management strategy.
As added risk is introduced into the business through internal and external sources the health and safety processes needs to be in a cycle of continuous improvement.”
Eeson’s e-book will never be a best seller but it was never intended to be. The book is a compilation of Eeson’s thoughts on OHS management in a contemporary, social context using familiar scenarios and stories to talk with the small business owner, predominantly, who may be wondering how the hell do they cut through all of the conflicting OHS advice.
Eeson uses a simple and clear language to provide a starting point of basic OHS concepts and how these fit with regulatory expectations. At 28 pages (and $6) it may be just the type of very short guide, and OHS reassurance, that very busy and confused business owners are looking for. It doesn’t provide answers to the big OHS issues of the day but that goal was never intended.
Read it, think about it and then try to do better. The OHS body of knowledge needs it.