November 2012 – HSA finds 80% of failures are management failures

A root cause analysis of accidents investigated by the HSA shows that 80% of failures can be traced back to failures in management systems.

That was the message from HSA chief executive, Martin O’Halloran, who was speaking at the presentation to EQA Ireland of its accreditation by the Irish National Accreditation Board (INAB). Mr O’Halloran, who is also a board member of INAB, said “we find 80% of failures are management failures”.

He said that while he was making the presentation as a member of the INAB board, it was appropriate for him to address health and safety issues, as EQA was at the same ceremony presenting OHSAS 18001 certificates to 15 companies. Mr O’Halloran said getting OHSAS 18001 is a big achievement which requires a lot of work. However it is the beginning of a process which must facilitate continuous improvement. Good management systems can, he added, deliver improved performance and lower insurance premiums. It helps in staff retention and companies with good health and safety management systems “achieve better tender success rates”.

Taking up a theme he has raised before, he called for an end to the trivialisation of health and safety. Saying health and safety is not about stopping children playing in the school yard or stopping bikes been carried on boats, he urged us “not to devalue the brand of health and safety”. Health and safety is grounded on taking reasonably practicable measures to control risk.

Presenting the OHSAS 18001 certificates, the Minister for Small Business, John Perry, T.D., said the HSA does “outstanding work”. The HSA has, he added, worked to reduce the administrative burden. The BeSMART risk assessment tool has now been used by over 9,000 companies.

(source: Health & Safety Review)

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