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Safeguard OSH Solutions - Thomson Reuters

Safeguard Magazine

Book Review — The Practical Safety Guide to Zero Harm

The Practical Safety Guide to Zero Harm

, author Wayne G Herbertson, published by the Value Organisation Pty Ltd, 2008. A$36.30

Wayne Herbertson has more than 20 years practical safety experience working in manufacturing, refining and mining businesses in Australia. In this book, he does not pretend to be breaking new ground in safety. In the preface, the author, who was inspired by the death of a close friend, says he set out to “give practical safety guidance” for people who are “students of safety or who are new to safety as a profession”.

Indeed, on first inspection of the index, there is little to suggest the experienced safety practitioner will gain very much from the somewhat standard array of safety management elements listed (organisational design, practical safety process, identify/assess hazards, compliance, monitoring and reviewing performance). The book is, however, a comprehensive description of a human behaviour based safety management system. In that regard, it represents something all safety practitioners will aspire to in some way.

The author places importance on the need to understand and utilise “BSAFA”, which is people’s Behaviours, Skills, Attitudes, Feelings and Attributes. Essentially, this recognises that every organisational outcome must go through people, a simple fact but one that must be addressed if we wish for a sustainable safety culture to develop. Herbertson keeps returning to this factor throughout the book and describes how it has impact on selection of personnel, setting the standards and achieving behavioural goals.

He reminds us that management must spend a proportion of time directly or indirectly on safety matters to have the desired effect. There is very pragmatic advice regarding everyday essentials such as employee consultation and setting of goals and objectives.

Don’t expect a lot of detail. Some sections are less than a page long, but what the author does is outline the key factors and critical elements with some wise and straightforward observations. The book is brimming with sample templates, checklists and flow charts that any safety practitioner would find useful, including risk management flow charts in the appendix for an array of risks such as confined spaces, hazardous substances, hot work and many more.

In summary, this is an easily digested book, which represents a current and very complete framework on which any organisation can develop a practical, strong safety system.

Simon Lawrence

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