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April 27, 2009

My Self, my assignment: How KM supports Health & Safety Management

ME

After finally finishing my KBAM PMA which was quite a hard thing to do since I am really drained with all the assignments I did in the last 2 months (Still have RDD PMA god!) and the fact that I have never been anywhere else other than Coventry and Birmingham twice, I really don't feel I have the energy to finish 2 more PMAs (RDD + ECRM which i will have next week) but I guess have to anyway.


Good thing that I am enjoying my project even though I did'nt really do much in it other than gathering the resources and jumping to questionnaire design so that I could distribute the questionnaire and writing my literature review while I wait for responses. Still though, I feel I will have the energy to finish my project and I really hope that my dissertation is strong and helpfull.


Assignment Task:

Knowledge management and how it could support Health and Safety


Improving Communications

Knowledge management could facilitate the process where projects and activities could be documented and captured and inserted into the organization's database, ERP system's database or the company's intranet where people could access the knowledge and use it. When it comes to Health and Safety, I guess if there are any projects related to Health & Safety in the company, any knowledge related to these projects could be captured into the knowledge database. Therefore, by capturing the information or knowledge related to these projects into the database, top management or people with the authority to access this kind of information could do it easily. For example, if there are any issues or problems faced by a certain project and these problems were captured and inputed into the database, the top management could easily access the database and be able to see information related to these problems and could then perhaps get involved to try and help the project team in resolving these problems.


Improved sharing of Best practices and Lessons Learned

Knowledge management could make it easier for organizations to capture and share their best practices and any lessons learned related to any projects or activities. When it come to health & Safety, the same could happen. Sharing of best practices that could help employees avoid making mistakes or undesired activities could improve the organization's performance while ensuring a healthy and safe work environment.


These are the main key points that I think are very good when it comes to supporting and improving health and safety in an organization by the use of knowledge management and its tools.


If you think that there are more points, please feel free to share them with us!


April 21, 2009

Health and Safety

As part of my KBAM module assignment, I chosen to pick the Health and Safety as an issue to discuss in a virtual company called Waiveriders.

Back in my country, I have never really thought about Health and Safety. Maybe because I take that for granted and that it would be in place.

According to a research I saw somewhere, in many organizations, health and safety is at a good level and there isn't really any problems of health and safety in many organizations and it is mostly up to a good level without giving it too much attention.


The only time I really thought of health and safety was when me and my team were auditing one of the faculties in the university which I work at and we found that one of the storage rooms had glasses on the ground and some items were not positioned correctly on the shelves and some chemicals on the ground. Other than that, I don't remember thinking about safety back there at all.


A few years ago, my university administration decided that no smoking should be allowed within the university. I was very happy when I heared this, however, knowing that this will not be implemented effectively and people will not be punished for smoking in the university, I became sad. Needless to say, this is exactly what happened.

I really hate smoking and I really hate the smell and I hate to see people smoking in public places while affecting everyone else with it without their permissions! As a guy who suffers from an asthma, I hate being close to smokers!


Now that I have read a few point about health and safety and its management, I found out that there are regulations that requires the organization to create a health and safety policy with a statement of intention of the desire to improve health and safety in the organization. Furthermore, I found out that creating the policy itself will require that proper responsibilities and arrangements are made so that people know what to do. It is important to delegate responsibilities so people have the authority to carry on any activities related to improving the health and safety in the organization.

I am quite sure that the decision to prohibit smoking in my university was not carried out effectively and responsibilities were not given to a group of people who could be in charge of punishing who doesn't listen, even if it the university director himself!

Lastly, it is really important to have documentation and instructions related to the health and safety and activities related to them. Furthermore, if you find out that a specific health and safety problem could be caused by people using machines or equipments incorrectly, you need to provide them with the correct instructions that help them do their job in an effective way that does not cause problems.


The hard working guy

There is a funny joke that goes around that a hospital found out that a number of their patients started dieing Monday night each week. After taking a closer look and investigating, they saw that every Monday night, the guy who is supposed to clean the floor unplugs some of the critical systems to plug his own vacuum cleaner. This is a joke but really I would not be surprised to see this happening as in my opinion, the hospital should have taken better measures to protect the patients lives. Maybe use some Poke-Yoke approach so that the cables could not be unplugged or something. Who knows!


I think what I am going to do after I get back is that I will start checking if we have the proper safety tools such as fire extinguishers and so, in case something goes bad :(


Fire Alarms in the building which I work at

Every now and then, alarms goes on by themselves even if there is no fire. Employees are used to the alarm as it is something they are used to. Apparently, the maintenance team did not really bother maintaining the fire alarms or trying to investigate the cause of this. The important point is, if a fire starts in the building, I bet that no one would move a muscle when the fire alarms goes on. Sad but true! Maybe they should send a messenger to alert every employee or send them e-mails that this is not a drill or an alarm-malfunction issue and that it is a real fire and that you need to run for your life!


Anyway, back to my assignment!


March 12, 2009

Standards and creativity debate

On last Tuesday, we decided to change the way that we run seminars and to do one of the topics in a debate mode where 2 groups are agreeing and 2 groups are against that.


The debate was about if implementing standards will stifle creativity in organisations.

Paul (Module tutor) gave us some instructions and timetable that explains how the debate is run.

I found a debate kind seminars rather interesting and could help understand and capture more due to the fact that each of the groups had to listen carefully to the other group so that they could come up with good counter-arguments that could weakens the other group's position.


I was (luckily) in the group that supports and defends the idea that standards do not stifle creativity, and we did come up with a number of support evidences that might support that. The other team was trying to prove that standards do stifle creativity and even though they were in a weaker position, I did enjoy the debate and I was able to understand a few points that actually slow down creativity if they were not handled correctly, not because of the standards, but perhaps because of what the people think of the standards.

For example, If you implement ISO 9001 standards in your organisation and you don't explain to your people that the standards are considered a base and that you can actually improve things to go beyond that, some people are going to think of these standards as a MUST that you can't change or improve. I did experience that, and I have always tried to explain this point to help get rid of this psychological barrier that could reduce creativity and innovation which is caused by people's understanding of the issue.


One of the points that we brought up was that standards are considered a base. and they are considered the minimum that should be in-place.

Further improvements to what the standards brings are possible and I think each organisation should question itself if it is doing exactly what the standards require, unless there is a very good reason for that.

Organisations structures and cultures are different and I can't see how standards could fit in just fine in organisations around the world even though that could be possible in some situations (maybe?). Still, I believe organisations shouldn't be constrained by standards and they should really try to improve themselves beyond the standards, at least if they want to stay competitive in the market, in my opinion.


March 09, 2009

Again with Knowledge Management

Thanks to Paul today, he reminded me that we need to blog during modules!


Anyway, I don't know why the subject of Knowledge Management is so in my mind and I am not sure why I keep thinking about Knowledge Management mostly. Maybe because I am working in an area where I think Knowledge Management could improve the work performance greatly.

I know that other Asset Management approaches or techniques are useful inside organizations as well, still I like KM the most!


Anyway, I have written before about a Document Management System, which could be actually used as a Knowledge Management System by companies as it is a free opensource system and could be implemented easily on any PC/Server.

Another way to do it is to have an intranet portal which could capture and share knowledge to people in the organization.


I am very interested in the issue of Knowledge Management even more now that we have gone through the seminar today that shed some light over this interesting subject.


I guess as Paul said, even though it sounds easy and so, it is still very hard to do it in real organizations. It would be interesting if there were any papers or books discussing the challenges related to the use of KM inside the organization.


I'd guess that some of the difficulties would be on how to motivate people so that they use the system with their own will rather than forcing the people to access the KM which could render this useless. Another difficulty would be to ask people working in teams or solving problems or improvements teams (like Six Sigma ones) to share and capture their own knowledge and experience so that people throughout the organization could use it.


I believe that the second point, at least for me is going to be a very difficult one since its related to the culture of the organization as well. In organizations where there are competition which I'd like to call (Negative) because it is basically a competition between administrations or departments within the same organization that doesn't add any value but in-fact work against the progress of the organization, which is something really spread out I guess in many places that I know of. This competition would make it very hard for departments and administrations that have competition between them to be able to share their experience in the organization which limit the use of KM to your own department or administration which really isn't that helpful if you compare the benefit from that to the benefit of sharing the knowledge throughout the whole organization that could consist of something like 40 departments or administrations!!!


I guess as Paul said, there is no reason not to implement what you think is usefull on your little area that you lead even if it is a small department if you can't implement it throughout the organization.




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Name: Abdulrahman Hariri

PhD student at WMG.

I’ve started a research education website in 2009 to help people from the Middle East learn how to do scientific research. The website continues to attract tens of thousands each month and has over half a million followers on social media.





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