Safety’s for sale and so is toilet paper!

It hit the fan when Gab Carlton published Where To Put the Port-a-loo is a Hazard!. I wonder if there will be the same gut reaction to Keith McCabe’s latest post on LinkedIn Pulse or do “Toilet Safety Police” really have nothing to go on? LOL

Safety’s for sale and so is toilet paper!

toilet safetyEvery day my inbox is flooded by offers for safe work procedures, almost all of which come with a stern warning telling me how they could save lives and keep me out of some dark scary dungeon.

I’ve seen so many now I think there must be one for going to the toilet. All jokes aside, this is where the whole thing gets a bit more complex and made me at least think about safe work procedures.

Going to the toilet then, it’s something we all do every day. Not just relevant to industry and manufacturing, the usual targets for all things safe work procedury (yes I made up a word). So hang on if it’s something we do every day we must know how to do it, right? So why would we need a safe work procedure, Is that why tradies get a bit wound up when the safety guy starts reading from a clipboard and telling them they aren’t doing the job the right way?

Ok then people go to the toilet every day, they know how to do it end of story? What about that time they “went” to the toilet and then realised that there was no toilet paper there? Oh dear that’s a bit embarrassing, the so called experts with a lifetime of experience have just made a serious error of judgement haven’t they. What were they thinking? Well just a wild guess but I suspect it was something along the lines of dear me I really do need to go to the toilet!

imageThe “toilet Safety Police” (another made up thing) would now be telling them that they should have checked first, here’s a checklist to follow next time and if it happens again there’s a good video on YouTube you can watch if we feel further training is required. A new poster has been put up in the lunchroom to remind us all to check the toilets every time. Wow, that guy must be feeling reassured and grateful now. The level of respect he must have for safety guy would be out of this world right?

Seems to me that this is one of those areas where safety needs to change, a worker who has an accident could be an experienced professional who has completed the same tasks over and over again year after year. Then one day they are not quite with it, maybe it was an argument at home, an unexpected expense or any one of thousands of other distractions that they were thinking about. That’s probably not going to be reflected by the incident report though, user error would be the most likely outcome. They didn’t need to be reminded how to do the task did they, it wasn’t lack of training or experience that contributed to the accident. It was just one of those being human things.

So to the safety people who think there’s no place for human error, don’t care about human judgement and don’t have time to question why and how people make decisions, I’ll leave it up to you to decide how a safe operating procedure for going to the toilet would have gotten at least one person out of trouble the day they didn’t have any other paper.


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