Another great reflection by Keith McCabe on LinkedIn (sighhhh) – first published here
Social media sites are full of pictures of people working in unsafe situations. The same images are usually followed by a tirade of apparently outraged safety experts pointing out what they are doing wrong, how foolish they are and then telling each other what should be done.
Wow, all that just from an image, these experts must really know what they’re talking about then?
It made me wish I was a cartoonist, in my (rather Immature granted) imagination I envision the “safety police” getting stuck into Santa and his careless elves for putting their lives in dire peril putting up the Christmas tree.
- Working at heights without an industrial rated ladder!
- Not a JSA or SOP in sight!
- Working with energised equipment (Christmas tree lights)!
- Objects placed above head height and only secured by a tiny bit of thread!
- Boxes placed where a person might trip on them!
- No safe working load indicated on those tree branches, tree branches that could have an eye out and no one’s wearing safety glasses!
Anyway silliness aside and going back to the pictures and comments I notice another trend, lots of telling, judging and blaming. Where are the people who ask, “Why”?
Not just the people who blaze in outraged with “why aren’t you doing this and you should be doing that!” I mean the people who first ask themselves, why they decided to do it that way. Now then, I’m not totally unsympathetic, I’ve seen a few pictures and my first thought wasn’t why are they doing it that way? My first thought is quite often how did they do that?
I wonder then if it’s that we don’t put ourselves in others shoes, rather we put others in our shoes and feel somehow that their behaviours are a reflection on us? I think safety practitioners need to realise that they are not the benchmark for safe and that there are more factors in play than an image could ever show. After all don’t they say “a picture is worth a thousand words” not just a few harsh comments at someone else’s expense and no one’s benefit!
Maybe think about that the next time you’re about to put someone in your safety shoes.