Work Health and Safety experts pursue lots of common objectives and comply with comparable guidelines. Whether you are an entrepreneur, a PCBU, a Site Safety Officer, or part of my Occupational Safety Solutions team, we have specific subjects we frequently deal with, in addition to things we rarely go over. It’s those underlying things that I want to concentrate on today.

Unfortunately, my father died three weeks ago, and beyond the sorrow and sorrow, his passing has me believing outside the boxes we usually live in. Death, and specifically his death, has got me believing about deeper problems.

We live in complex and extremely misleading times. In the midst of this, the problems being placed on companies are increasing, not just demanding more of our resources however also significantly demanding compliance to structures of believing we and our employees might not constantly agree with. We’re being forced off the well-worn paths, tracks and tracks we’re used to, and onto side-roads and goat trails and into uncertain terrain.

Do you understand any of these feelings? Do you as a busy person, as I do, wrestle with harmonizing work, workers, family and friends? Do you likewise find it hard sometimes to believe beyond the apparent and the fundamentals? If so, and you also discover these to be difficult days, I believed I ‘d use a few insights from my off-the-beaten-track thinking. I hope they assist!

The WHS function can be described clearly, considerably or with street-level bluntness:

Mentioned clearly … Work Health and Safety has to do with foreseeing what can fail, Strategising to prevent it occurring, and helping keep people safe.

A lot of people run from snakes, but safety experts act differently. WHS requires us to prepare for the snake, keep it in view, know how to react, train others to do similarly, keep unnecessary snakes out, manage the snakes that are already within, and strategy for the ones that are birthed every day.

Specified bluntly … Work Health and Safety activities are about helping company owner cover their arse, abide by the law and keep their people safe.

These are the WHS parts that are apparent. Let’s discuss three subjects that don’t get given much time.

At a surface level, we see standards, checks, protocols and balances. Below these surface behaviours, guiding principles are at work, with duty of care and due diligence blazing a trail. If we look even deeper, we see an extended variety of factors, ideas, approaches and motivations, of which, there are 3 I want to touch on:

1. Ethical awareness,
2. Wrestling with morality, and
3. Enabling and handling emotion,

Consider them as trail guides to help you browse when federal government, circumstances, or your people force you off the well-worn courses that you are used to.


You most likely currently have an operating ethical compass if you’ve read this far. However, you might not have thought much about its application in the safety context. ‘Application’ is what ethics has to do with. Ethics is the application of morality in an offered situation. Simply put, morality is a system that tells us what is incorrect and right, and ethics is the application of those rights and wrongs in an offered scenario. It can be reasonably argued that ethics change in time, however morality is constant.

Where does this fit in the WHS context? Ethics resembles a trail guide that informs you to pick up the rate, slow down, or step carefully. The virtue or morality is in reaching the location; ethics is worked out in getting there appropriately.

While many workers think it is ideal to comment on hazardous situations (morality), but not all do (ethics). The majority of also understand it is right for them to fix a manager who is directing them to do something unsafe (morality), but lots of would not follow through on this conviction (ethics). There is frequently a space in between morality and ethics and I have a strong suspicion that space was narrower in my father’s day.

The take-away: do not presume that morality is enough, or that the ethical behaviour seen in one work domain will also be evidenced in another. Efficient Work Health and Safety isn’t just about what is right; it’s likewise about creating a work area where ethical behaviour is the standard. A few of the pointers that follow will assist.


We have actually already mentioned that morality is the art of understanding the difference between right and wrong, even when the right thing is less advantageous. Various workers have varying principles of right and incorrect. Nowadays, we likewise encounter numerous who think the just best that matters is ‘their right. It’s the moral equivalent of having ‘an individual fact’ – and in a workplace safety situation, that is a disaster waiting to happen.

My old man taught me that right is wrong and best is wrong. Even when it injures, right stays right, and incorrect stays incorrect. Our workers may disagree on how right and wrong is decided, but workers need to come together when it comes to Work Health and Safety. It’s okay for a worker to understand that their viewpoints and their morality have value, but when it pertains to safety decisions, in all however the most extraordinary of cases, the ethical thing to do is what the legislation says to do.

What if a manager, a fellow employee or federal government authority acts, needs or manoeuvres in an immoral method? Clearly, there are times when what is legal is likewise unethical; for example, both in the past and throughout World War 2 the Nazi SS rounded up Jewish, Homosexual and polish individuals for damage.

These days, I am conscious that individual morality varies profoundly from individual to person – maybe more than ever in the past. That brings an obstacle to my work environment because I need to wrestle with the implications of an ethically ambiguous reality.

Morality gives none of us a free pass, and I reckon my dad’s generation comprehended that much better than we do.

Work Health and Safety INCLUDES FEELING
When it comes to emotions, there are 2 groups (or extremes) that tend to dominate. These emotions trigger hesitancy and uneasiness, leading workers to not speak when they should. These emotions get in the way of reliable communication, shut down open conversation and increase the possibility of errors and dangers happening.

What are we to do? The workplace requires all kinds of characters, so all these emotions will make an appearance. We need to find a method to deal with emotional extremes.

My father’s generation was huge on individual obligation and just “getting shit done”. My generation was more interested in self-esteem and understanding ourselves within a team-oriented context. Today’s young people seem to believe the world revolves around their wants, their requirements, and their fact.

Possibly there’s a winning balance to be discovered in between, and I reckon honesty is an excellent place to start. A team leader can show the method by prefacing his comments to motivate emotional awareness and self-management. For example:

“I feel a little worried raising this, however I’m going to …”
“Wait! Give me a minute. I’m too f ‘n upset and I’m gon na state something we’ll both regret.”
“I do not mind if you do ‘you’ in the house. Heck, I do ‘me’ in the house. However when we’re here, we do ‘us’! Do you understand that?”

Whatever the specifics of your WHS function, knowing these three underpinning concerns will certainly help your results. It seems to me that there is little to lose and much to acquire. Ethical awareness, the determination to wrestle with morality, and emotional responsiveness are all areas of financial investment, not cost.

As we close, you may have noted that I haven’t even discussed a product – and I’m not going to. Today, my product silence is my way of strolling the talk. What I’ve shared with you is so foundational it should have an undistracted focus.
WHS Regulations 2017