Article on the Contract Journal website on 12 March 2008 by
It starts "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime, or so the saying goes. The same may well be true of health and safety. While it's great to have the latest safety equipment, it's irrelevant if nobody shows you how to use it properly."
The article is actually about an organisation called 'Constructing Excellence' that aims to improve safety in the industry. "Through this initiative, companies put forward current projects that in one way or another are demonstrating innovation or best practice in their development." Constructing Excellence then "work alongside these leading-edge projects to capture the knowledge, benchmark their performance and use the resulting case studies to demonstrate the business case."
I know nothing about the scheme or whether it is being successful. But it very much fits with my view of the world. Too often I hear about centralised initiatives where everyone is expected to follow what is considered to be best practice. However, I never understand how a single approach can really be best for everyone. In fact, the best things are done at a local level, where people are prepared to take a risk to be innovative. Hence, rather than running things centrally I feel it is better to give local groups some scope to be innovative and take some risks, but in a context where learning (about success and failure) is shared.
The article is a bit strange because it does not provide a link to the organisations website. It also gets the name wrong on several occassions, calling is 'Construction Excellence' rather than 'Consulting Excellence.'