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How addressing hidden weaknesses can help prevent accidents

Wednesday 28 April is the World Day for Safety and Health at Work, initiated in 2003 by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to promote the prevention of occupational accidents and diseases globally. Wednesday 28 April is also the International Commemoration Day for Dead and Injured Workers which has been recognised by trade union movements since 1996.

“It is our attitudes and behaviours that drive our response and sense of ownership around errors, quality and safety,” says Simone Robinson, Regional Director of The Oakridge Centre. “We encourage our clients to investigate human performance and error management as part of their overall risk analysis. Sometimes a lack of assertiveness or complacency can be the difference between a safe or an unsafe workplace.”

As the UK begins to tentatively come out of lockdown restrictions the need to create healthy and safe workplaces is paramount in the minds of most leaders not just those in heavy industrial sectors. Ultimate responsibility for health and safety sits with company directors, who can face imprisonment (Corporate Manslaughter Act in 2007) but every leader and manager is obliged to ensure their teams are protected from potential accidents at work which now includes COVID 19 transmission prevention.

With offices in Manchester and Cambridge, The Oakridge Centre provides leadership and development programmes to clients including Astra Zeneca, Bentley and Tata Chemicals in the pharmaceutical, life sciences and manufacturing sectors.

“On the World Day for Safety and Health at Work and the International Commemoration Day for Dead and Injured Workers in 2021 we will all be mindful of the many NHS workers who have lost their lives over the past 12 months, says Robinson. “We owe them all a huge debt of gratitude and trust that all employers will be aware of their legal health and safety responsibilities as staff begin to return to work.”

The Oakridge Centre provide a one-day Human Performance and Error Management programme which, rather than highlighting the responsibilities of employees, places emphasis on thinking before acting and providing simple tools to identify both active errors and hidden, latent errors. The programme identifies approaches for preventing errors and making improvements while encouraging attendees to challenge and improve their own performance. While encouraging an honest and open discussion of error management the programme investigates how an accumulation of hidden weaknesses in a system can be identified and negated to create an improvement of quality in the workplace.

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