A leading process safety expert and author has cited industry’s ‘macho culture’ as one of the main causes of health and safety lapses.
Trevor Kletz, who spent almost 40 years at ICI, said many senior managers have “taken their eye off the ball” and that a “get stuck in” approach has been behind many recent incidents.
Speaking at the Hazards Asia Pacific process safety conference, organised by the Institution of Chemical Engineers and the Chemical Industries Council of Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur at the end of September, Kletz said: “Many workers don’t see the need to follow all the rules, or the permit-to-work procedures. Our job, they say, is to get stuck in and get the job done, not fill in forms. In time this macho approach becomes the local custom and practice.”
Simply blaming senior management for putting the pursuit of money ahead of safety is wrong, Kletz warned. “It’s easy to point the finger at management and assume that a culture of cutting corners started at the top, but it is worth remembering that the same culture can also originate at the bottom, driven by the desire to get the job done. The task of management is to know this and make sure it is done properly.”
Lighthouse have mirrored these thoughts for some time now, the ‘man it up’ approach has been the accepted cultural approach, with suitable controls being considered for the weak, and the ‘it will only take a moment’ crew ridiculing those that wish to act safely.
Clearly if we all wish to stay fit and health, the time is right now to change your approach.
If you are experiencing behavioural problems within your company, why not ask us about our CITB Site Safety Plus – Achieving Behavioural Change Course.