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Health & safety myths oil & gas bosses must ignore in 2010

21 January 2010

Managers and directors at oil and gas firms should start 2010 with a renewed pledge to make the year the safest ever for their employees.

Health & safety myths oil & gas bosses must ignore in 2010
Health & safety myths oil & gas bosses must ignore in 2010

Expert Paul Darby from health & safety and environmental training company Pivotal Performance believes the attitude of the leaders of a company sets out how safe staff are likely to be.
And he's listed three health and safety myths that bosses must ignore in 2010.

"In virtually every instance where someone has been hurt or killed at work, you can pin blame on decisions or lack of decisions made at the top," Darby said.

"If a leader doesn't take health and safety seriously, then the company can't and won't.
"And it's scarily easy to see why health and safety would be ignored. It's treated as a bit of a joke in the UK and is blamed for all sorts of problems."

Darby added: "Yet employees are hurt and killed at work all the time, often when companies have ignored rules and guidelines that are there to protect people.

"I call on all directors and managers in oil and gas to make 2010 their safest year ever."
During years of training people in health and safety, Paul has noticed three common myths that leaders should ignore:

1. Health and safety is just about common sense: This is correct to a degree, but modern workplaces can pose more risks than common sense will protect against. Employers must make suitable risk assessments to ensure any risks to employees are minimised and managed.

2. As the employer, I have to make sure the business complies with health and safety: Yes employers have a duty of care to employees, but your staff must also work safely and co-operate with your health and safety procedures.

3. Complying with health and safety is expensive: There is the small cost of training and complying with laws. However the cost of an employee being hurt or killed at work is huge. Apart from the sick pay, you may be fined, have to pay legal costs - and of course you will have to put right whatever caused the accident in the first place.

Paul Darby is a Chartered Safety and Health Practitioner, holds a NEBOSH diploma (the National Examination Board in Occupational Safety & Health) and many military qualifications.

Before his current career, he was chief instructor at the Royal Engineers Diving School in Germany.


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