A recent workplace health and safety case in Australia has emphasised that an employer does not have to provide training for tasks that are considered to be ‘relatively’ straight forward. The presiding judge also found that while changes to the workplace could in theory be made, in practice it would be unreasonable to demand that the employer make such changes. The judge’s decision was subsequently upheld on appeal.
What’s interesting is the close reasoning of the court (and the appellate court) to establish what is reasonable and practicable in the circumstances. While the legal system is not perfect it does have a long standing set of practices and procedures for getting at the truth. Perhaps we may be able to learn something from the legal profession when thinking about the safety of critical systems. More on this later.