This week BFA provided a report to an organization with views on the status of their safety system. The not-for-profit organization has existed since the 1970′s and would now not be classed as a medium employer but a large employer (on the small side of large). With 4 sites in Victoria and a 5th in NSW it has a new CEO and wanted external eyes to view its safety systems. Small businesses have informal systems – appropriately. Large businesses invariably have formal safety systems – appropriately. BFA has encountered many organisations striving to keep the practical, “just do it” aspects of an informal safety system as they grow to be medium size. In this case the employer values its (small) “family” atmosphere of workers and its site based responsibilities for safety whilst wanting to have the (large) benefits of bench-marking and consistency – elements that come with more formal systems. The BFA report put detail to what they basically knew – they needed to balance centralization (forms, policy, records, reporting) with the local delivery and accountability and to utilize internal safety auditing to ensure consistency. BFA wish them well – they are a great organization that was a joyful experience to assess.
What they face is what faces many such evolving and growing organizations – learning what they need to do, deciding how to do it and when to invest the money on the new “larger” infrastructure things such as going from Excel records to platforms with wider functionality in multi-site incident reporting, learning management systems or libraries of Safe Work Instructions (SWI)s or Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)s. And moving from person to person service contract reliance with trusted tradies to contractor management systems with documentary evidence. They are on the right path.
There are many consultants making good livings from building safety management systems – and not all are doing it for the best price for the purchaser. BFA aims to provide a reasonably priced alternative to organizations undergoing transition.