I can’t believe that nobody was seriously injured
Veteran Safety Crusader, Barry Spud, is very angry, in fact, he is outraged. Returning to work as Zero Harm Plus Controller at ACME, after taking 3 months long service leave with a 3 month extension for compassionate stress leave, he was looking forward to investigating all of the serious injuries that he was expecting due to his absence.
“I got into heaps of arguments with the crew of our cruise ship over unacceptable safety practices, safety never takes a holiday! So I was obviously looking forward to getting back to work where I have complete control over safety and everybody does what I tell them to do” says Barry. “I was horrified by what has happened to my safety system when I had my back turned, I just can’t believe that nobody was seriously injured while I wasn’t there to protect them?".
Barry has had to spend his first week back at work, on his own, trying understand why nobody got hurt while he was away and writing a 37 page, heated memo to management citing 523 serious safety system non-conformances, which include:
- Our twice daily safety checklists have been replaced with a “spacial and visual walk tool” from some radical new company that spells everything with a “Y” instead of an “I”
- Workers discussing amongst themselves how best to perform tasks and totally ignoring the generic SWMS which I downloaded for them.
- Removal of “ZERO HARM”, “Safety First” and “Injury Is A Choice You Make” signage from around the facility – the company obviously wants people to get hurt now.
- Allowing supervisors and workers to conduct their own toolbox talks and not sign off on attendance and compliance – how will we cover our butts in court now?
- Allowing more than one person to be involved in Risk Assessments – Risk Assessments are meant to be scientific and therefore objective. There can only be one truly reliable risk assessment and that is mine.
- Production and quality is up, as is employee morale – we cannot afford to decrease the priority of safety or have people enjoying their work and therefore not taking safety seriously
- The stupid risk takers I had previously identified and had sent to head office for counselling have now been allowed to integrate with our production people. We must make the good, compliant workers fear these recalcitrants and drive them out.
- Inductions have become a farce – my "safety is about common sense" message has been removed and inductees are no longer told what we expect them to do – they are now actually being asked what they think!. How can they possibly know what to do and how to be safe? It took me 5 days of intensive online study to get my qualifications and become the recognised PPE expert.
- The systems and procedures I had in place made safety so simple to manage and control, as it should be. Things are way too loose and complicated now and workers will have to rely on their own imagination and creativity to go home in one piece. Safety is 80% compliance, 25% common-sense and the rest is good luck – simple!
- Human Resources have redefined our definition of Harm and set positive, achievable goals for improvement. So now we don’t count band-aids anymore. We simply cannot achieve ZERO if we are to consider and measure all the namby pamby social psychology and cultural stuff! “i-Cues” has got to be the stupidest thing that I have never heard of.
Company Management refused to issue an official response but one insider revealed: “We have had an opportunity to make some positive improvements to our safety and risk practices over the last 6 months – I understand that Barry has been transferred to the Special Projects Team where he cannot cause any more harm”.
Photo: Barry Spud in happier times at work – before his extended holiday….