I’m not a big fan of “The Block”, no real reasons, just over it. For drama and ratings they do some pretty cringe worthy things. One of those things is their approach to safety, they have certainly played on people’s current disdain for the word “safety” but have not done anything to improve that perception. In last years series a few safety crusaders were on their high horses and fire up on LinkedIn , as they do, about the “serious safety breaches” which prompted this article by Rob Long: “Release the Safety Monster and ruin a Good TV Show”. SJ writes about the latest little safety as a suitable punishment initiative by “Safety Cam”, the crusaders probably thought he was awesome?:
The Block isn’t portraying safety as it should be
First published here: http://www.riskologyconsulting.com.au/news/the-block-isn%E2%80%99t-portraying-safety-as-it-should-be
The Block is a national popular TV show, with a wide reach. Any products that appear on the show immediately sell-out, the people involve are often able to fashion new careers out of their appearance on the show. So it would be a great place to spread a positive safety message.
Unfortunately that is not the case. Earlier this month Scotty Cam was interviewed on Sydney’s 2Day FM and said that the Block will not be coming back to Sydney any time soon. Sydney Councils have fined them five times, for things like soil on the footpath and blocking pedestrian pathways to the public. Melbourne Councils haven’t fined them at all. It is not known which council did this but it was noted that the council took safety seriously.
So on one hand they say safety is important, with Scott Cam the presenter of the show even backing an initiative with Worksafe VIC in 2010 around musculoskeletal injuries, and he still dons the covers of the Tradie Safety guides; but on the other hand we see contestants drinking alcohol and then getting back on tools, extremely fatigued driving to the hardware store nearly falling asleep.
In recent seasons they introduced ‘Safety Cam’. When he first started appearing I was actually pleasantly surprised, as I did think it was a proactive step for The Block to highlight safety. But really, it has gone downhill from there. Do you remember when the contestants bricked in a room with no access in or out and they were laughing saying “what do we do in a fire”?
Whenever The Block refers to safety, it is in a negative sense or as a punishment.
If Keith (The Block Foreman) is having a disagreement with a contestant his response is often “Well you’ve have to be re-inducted by Safety Cam”. The threat here is that they’ll have to sit through a ‘long and boring’ presentation.
It really bothers me that safety is seen as a punishment – most workplaces have moved on from this school of thought, why is The Block back in the 90s?
I’m not naïve, I understand that it’s a TV show and ratings are the name of the game, but it doesn’t stop me from putting on my cranky (steelcapped) boots and stomping around – or going on a rant on Facebook!
The most recent example that got my blood boiling was when Darren and Keith were having a stoush. Both were giving as good as they got, however because Darren swore at Keith, he cut his power. He then punished him further by forcing him to be re-inducted.
How can people take safety seriously when it’s used as a pawn to rule by fear? Safety Cam is the fun police and gives safety a bad name. It’s unfortunate that ratings trumps safety.
Safety should be about positive reinforcement and shared responsibility. If you’d like help spreading a positive message of WHS in your workplace, please get in touch.
Image from The Block