Learning from what goes wrong at work, and what goes right, is important because it helps us identify ways to improve and build stronger businesses.
Traditional incident investigations are one way to do this. But these investigations tend to be quite limited in their scope. That means they don’t necessarily reveal all the under-lying factors that contributed to an incident, or all the lessons that can be learnt to prevent similar events in future.
One alternative approach is a Learning Review, which focuses on learning and improvement rather than just finding out what went wrong and who was at fault. Learning Reviews explore how the work is actually being done, and how it could be done differently. Workers are heavily involved in the process – including offering their ideas on ways to work more safely.
Learning Reviews recognise two important things – that we can’t escape human error (even the most competent operator makes mistakes) and that errors are a product of the way the work is done, not just workers making mistakes. They help identify improvements that can protect workers and the business from inevitable human errors.
Safetree has several resources to help forestry businesses learn about, and use, the Learning Review approach. These include a new video case study on how PanPac Forest Products used a Learning Review to improve safety and worker engagement at its Napier lumber division.
The Learning Review approach was developed for the forestry industry by Scion, with the support of WorkSafe and Safetree. Scion is working with a core group of forestry people to further develop their skills to undertake the reviews.
Learning from incidents – PanPac Forest Products’ story
In this video, PanPac Forest Products Lumber Division staff talk about the outcomes of a Learning Review that followed a serious incident involving a forklift. The company implemented safety improvements suggested by the workers themselves. So, in addition to improving safety around forklifts, there has been better worker buy-in to the new ways of working, and an uplift in engagement from workers who feel they now have a stronger voice in health and safety decision-making.
Learning from everyday work
We don’t need to wait for incidents to occur to learn. It is possible to learn a lot from noticing and exploring what goes right at work every day – despite people sometimes working in less than ideal conditions. By identifying the essential things needed to make sure things go right, businesses can work on making sure these things are present on site every day. Below are some resources to support businesses that want to learn more from their everyday success.
Safetree Conference – Connect for Success
We are looking forward to the upcoming Safetree Conference – Connect for Success – which takes place in Wellington on 19 and 20 November. We’ve had healthy registrations for the conference, which was postponed from March. If you’d like to attend, register on the FICA website.