9 September 2009


Interesting safety day today. I was at the first day of the NZISM national conference. The keynote speaker, Larry Hansen from the USA, is really good, although some of the other speakers weren't so good. The second speaker this morning in the joint sessions (it's a shared conference with the Occupational Health Nurses Association) was talking about Maori health, and she only addressed her course and remarks to the nurses not the safety people, and she was a boring speaker. It would have made much more sense to put her stuff into the OHN stream in the afternoon and put something more relevant to everyone in the combined sessions.

However, the keynote addresses about safety culture and excellence have been - well, excellent! My boss is a real advocate for safety culture here. In fact, he addressed the conference straight after one of the keynotes and mentioned that either he nicked Larry Hansen's notes, or Larry nicked his - or they were both working from the same source material! It was almost like a double act, but it was a great combo.

A good safety day got a bit depressed when I was catching up on the news when I got home, and spotted this article about fatigue in Australia's hospitals. One of my Massey colleagues is researching fatigue in non-traditional shiftwork, and there is a lot of evidence around the dangers and risks of even traditional shift systems. Working an 80-hour shift is just insane: and these people are supposed to be making critical decisions! I remember reading about the Texas City Oil Refinery fire: one of the root causes was the fact that the major supervisor had been working for about 70 days without a day off, and massive numbers of hours.


Kevin Jones said...

Larry Hansen is one of the few US safety advocates I listen to. He is a regular visitor the NZ and Australia. I have heard him speak at conferences and I have interviewed him. Larry seems to have the knowledge to go beyond the safety culture jargon.

On the issue of fatigue, the coffee-drinking doctors article got a good run throughout the media but it may be worth looking, and listening, to some of the comments and data directly from the Salaried Doctors Queensland representative at http://safetyatworkblog.wordpress.com/2009/09/07/fatigue-impairment-and-industrial-relations/

Pachyderm said...

Cheers, Kevin.

I have been very impressed with Larry Hansen so far - what was interesting was my boss, Mike Cosman, spoke straight after him and the two presentations dovetailed so neatly you'd swear they'd written them together! Thanks for the heads-up about the fatigue article - will have a look.