Tag: work instructions

“You Will Be Assimilated.”

One of the interesting, and challenging, issues in developing an OH&S management system is the tension between developing detailed work instructions versus relying on competent individuals to perform critical OH&S tasks.

On one hand, there is the view that all tasks, especially important ones, need to be reduced to written work instructions.  After all, the person performing these tasks might “win the lottery” and never return to work.  On the other hand, there is the view that it is more important to have competent people performing critical tasks.  The example — “If you were going to have brain surgery, would you want a surgeon who is competent or an individual who is simply following a set of written work instructions?”

This conflict of views was recently brought into focus for me.  A senior manager in a company suggested that the work being done by the OH&S staff should be reduced to “work instructions that anyone can follow” for entry into the company’s preventive maintenance program.

June 24, 2008 More