Documentation and excessive rules are seen to create an illusion of safety while possibly increasing risk and confusion. However, rules and procedures are important risk control strategies especially in high risk environments. The role of rules and procedures has been the subject of recent research and a topic of discussion among OHS professionals. This all raises the question of the role of procedures in regulatory compliance and in risk control.
We have engaged Griffith University and David Provan to write a chapter on Rules and Procedures for the OHS BoK that presents the research and sets that within the realities of OHS professional practice.
Consultation with OHS professionals and leaders based on the chapter draft has been exciting and revealing. The complexity and importance of the context in determining of the role of rules and procedures is something that does not come out in the research. One size does not fit all. Organisational size, maturity and culture are important factors as is the industry and level of risk. The role of procedures in demonstrating due diligence is also important.