Pfeffer cuts through on OHS

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“…if we truly care about human beings and their lives, including how long people live…. we need to first understand and then alter those workplace conditions that sicken and kill people” (page 25 – “Dying For A Paycheck”)

Jeffrey Pfeffer has been doing the rounds of the Safety and Human Resources conferences for some time, talking about “dying for a paycheck”.  This year he published a book of that title, a book that should be obligatory reading for occupational health and safety (OHS) professionals and, more importantly, company executives.

This book is one of the few that I have read from cover-to-cover and wanted to do so in as short a time as possible because I wanted to understand the big interconnected picture of business management and policy setting that Pfeffer discusses.

Pfeffer presents a lot of data packaged in a fresh and fascinating form but regularly complains about the lack of data.  One of the joys in the book is being tantalised by what data he presents but then being frustrated when realising that that is the extent of the data available.   Continue reading “Pfeffer cuts through on OHS”

Business Bullshit – and how this relates to workplace health and safety

This is an edited version of my presentation to delegates at the inaugural NSW Regional Safety Conference & Expo in Newcastle, Australia on March 17, 2018.

The current approach to occupational health and safety (OHS) is that we shouldn’t separate it from business operations. One of the motivations for achieving success in business is to build a strong organisational culture that integrates safety.

Companies often start this task by developing Mission Statements or Pledges.  Quite often these are done by talking to a lot of different people in the organisation.  And I don’t know of any mission statement that hasn’t been already run through Legal and Marketing – they don’t always get run through Safety.  What happens is that these statements can become more florid and more inexact, and more unclear.  Some of them descend into Business Bullshit.

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Video Update #3

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It’s been a couple of busy weeks at SafetyAtWorkBlog with three public speaking engagements:

Below is a video update about this activity with a couple of new books mentioned as well.


Kevin Jones