The OHS profession are often depicted with various diagrams detailing the OHS process, and many are based o the PDCA cycle; Plan, Do, Check, Act.
But one that is not popular at all is the OHS Triangle. And it follows the same thought-pattern as the Fire Triangle. The Fire Triangle depicts the three elements needed to start a fire. Oxygen, Fuel and Heat.
The theory of the fire triangle is that if you remove a single element, like oxygen, the fire will extinguish.
The OHS Triangle then likewise depicts the elements needed to start a OHS program.
And these are:
Accidents, People and Workplaces.
And again, the theory is that if you remove a single element, the OHS program will become obsolete.
OHS laws across the globe, tells you to provide and maintain a safe and healthy workplace to employees, contractors and the public in order to prevent accidents.
But what if you have been running a business for 10 or more years, and never had an accident? Is it luck? Or is your workplace already safe and healthy as the law requires? So, why then do you want to appoint an OHS practitioner at a workplace where with no accident history since its doors opened?
There are only three reasons why employers seeks to employ OHS practitioners.
- There is a real legal requirement to appoint such a person. For instance the Construction Regulations in SA makes it compulsory under certain project conditions.
- Your workplace is in fact a death trap and your moral compass tells you to do something about it.
- You work for clients that insists on reams of paper to be submitted for OHS compliance and you don’t have time to waste.
For all other employers, there is no need to appoint an OHS practitioner. The question is however, with reference to the second reason above, how sure are you?