How to Achieve Zero Harm... Or not

We hear it a lot, "We have a zero harm workplace" or "We have had zero harm for over 679 days." But what does that actually mean, do they actually have a workplace where no accidents at all happen? Or are they just cooking the books and not reporting things?

If we have found out one thing, it is that accidents happen, (The trick is how you manage and learn from those accidents). That is why we think the policy of Zero Harm is ridiculously stupid!
It creates an environment where people don't report things because they don't want the day counter to go back to zero, and they think they will get in trouble with their bosses if they do.

So lots of small things happen and get swept under the carpet, then something big happens that can't be hidden. Everyone is so surprised, it just came out of the blue. 
The ladder Bob was on just collapsed under him. However when you start asking a few questions you find out that people knew that the ladder had been broken for ages and they have had close calls on it before. But its ok, They have a Zero Harm work environment.

Over to Zane and Adelaide

As we said above, Zero Harm is stupid, in fact it is one of the stupidest safety measures in the world. It doesn't get people involved and you don't actually find out what is happening in your work place.

So in saying that we strongly suggest not to follow these 5 tips, but to instead look at your own business and if there is anything like this going on, maybe it is time for you to look at and review your approach to Safety.

5 ways to achieve Zero Harm

  1. Cook the books
    In short - don't report anything, lie. That accident was imaginary.
  2. Sack people that get hurt
    Well if the person that got hurt doesn't work for you then they didn't get hurt at work. Right?
  3. Use LTI's (Lost Time Injuries) as a measure
    This one is a big one. As long as the person does work then it is not an injury, it can be as simple and getting them to send an email or sign a work related form. In doing that you can keep your LTI's at zero, You still have a Zero Harm Workplace. Never mind the guy in hospital with the broken limbs.
  4. Hypnosis/Brainwashing
    Again, That accident was imaginary, you did not get hurt, we don't have accidents, its all in your head.
  5. Don't do any work
    The only way to truly achieve Zero Harm and be certain that no one will get hurt is to not do any work. But that raises the question is it a workplace if no one does work? Not a very profitable one anyway.

As you can see Zero Harm is a bit silly and a really old way of doing safety. If you have this or a similar approach maybe it is time to move to a new approach where everyone gets involved in safety. Where you learn from the accidents and mistakes, so you can be safer and get home at the end of the day, knowing that you and your work mates are all good. Take a look at our Small Business Guides

By the way, PeopleSafe software is a really good tool to use in this new approach to safety.

See you next week.


Let us know what you think by commenting below or send an email to questions@peoplesafe.co.nz