Corporate harmonisation of safe systems of work

Too often companies find themselves in a situation where their organisation has grown organically and independently. This can result in numerous different site procedures and practices evolving, with various levels of effectiveness when the core risk being managed is the same.Sims Harmonisation case study

Different internal approaches to high risk work management can result in:

  • Non compliance to corporate policies, procedures and practices
  • Fractured management of assets and hardware as each location/site is ‘doing their own thing’
  • Potential increased hardware costs as purchasing isn’t managed with a ‘whole of company’ approach, which can allow for rationalisation and affords companies the power of negotiation
  • Increased costs involved with training as employees may require re-training even for internal staff movements from site to site

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Developing key processes for clients

With busy work schedules it isn’t always immediately apparent to companies where gaps may lay in their systems. With over 20 years of technical writing experience SSI’s skilled staff can quickly help you identify and prioritise where you can best focus your efforts.

SSI were recently engaged by a large port operation to improve upon their confined space management system. After on-site analysis of the organisation’s needs it became apparent that the fundamental cornerstone of hazard identification, risk assessment and control (HIRARC) was lacking and had not been promoted effectively throughout the business.

After advice from SSI a decision was made to take a step back and prioritise development, implementation and embedding of a real time hazard assessment (RTHA) process called S.T.E.P.S (stop, talk/think, evaluate and proceed safely) in conjunction with a job safety analysis (JSA).

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What are your drivers for safe systems of work?

With over 20 years of experience in documentation and training development SSI have worked with many clients to develop and improve systems and processes.

Broadly drivers for improving or updating safe systems of work fall into the following categories, the first three are reactive whilst the last one is proactive:
• Legislative compliance
• Requirement of clients/stakeholders
• Onsite incidents and accidents
• Continuous improvement

Not everyone in the workplace has the same understanding of risks and hazard awareness. If people are exposed to poor systems and unstructured training then it can be a recipe for disaster.

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Can you improve on the safety hardware you use?

SSI always endeavours to ‘value add’ when our trainers and technical writers are contracted by our clients. A recent example comes from a large mining company in Papua New Guinea where our staff were on site training and mentoring PNG nationals in Authority to Work (ATW)/Isolation and assisting in shutdown ATW planning.

Whilst not on site to look at safety hardware, but after observing what isolation related hardware (locks and tags) was currently in use, our trained staff could quickly recognise opportunities for improvement and cost savings.

At first glance, standardising the types of tags used may not seem to be a big change or offer any significant improvements, but when you are talking about seven (7) different types of tags in use and over 157,000 tags ordered within a calendar year there was definitely scope to improve upon what was currently being provided.

Given each tag is used for a different purpose a review of many different criteria was required including assessing the following aspects:

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SSI are trusted advisors for all stages of operational maturity

SSI has tailored solutions for all businesses regardless of their operational maturity. Our staff are regularly engaged by clients who have the internal capability but are often time poor due to competing work priorities. We work with many clients to improve and enhance their existing systems. We also have vast experience with helping new corporate identities and/or clients on ‘green field’ sites move through the hectic periods of construction and commissioning, helping them head towards operational readiness and turn key production with minimal stress.

One of our staff members was engaged by a major lithium producer in Western Australia to draft operational manuals as the site was working towards the commissioning stage. Working with the construction, commissioning and operational staff gave us a holistic view of what processes were in place and where there were gaps that needed to be addressed.

The following areas were identified as requiring further progression to ensure a safe worksite for all:

  • Structured risk assessment process for site
  • Hazard and risk training
  • New employee process

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