The Impossible Task
Recently I had the privilege of working as a Warehousing Operations Trainer Assessor with special needs learners. These were trainees, apprentices and youth that effectively dropt out of the education system at age 12 but continued to show up to class, for social interaction and in some places a free feed. Many of these apparently having spent the prior four years spasmodically learning little other than how to draw flies and create shade. Fundamental skills of language, literacy and numeracy seemingly locked to their pre-teens – they are now age 16 to 18.
My job was to mould them into individuals that were competent in the basics of: SACER
Towards the end of the course, I developed a training tool which proved most effective. I employed “Impossible Tasks”. Things like: Shift 300 pallets 50 mtrs in 10 min or transfer 40,000 ltrs of Fuel in 5 min. I explained that on occasion, management would set them what a normal person would consider to be an Impossible Task and that what they needed to do was not throw their hands up and say ‘It can’t be done’ – they needed to identify what resources – manpower, plant, equipment, time extensions, communication systems etc. – whatever would be required to achieve the required outcome and relay those needs and requirements to management.
For Safety Professionals, this same approach of setting yourself seemingly Impossible Safety Tasks – like ‘evacuating the site in under 2 min’ or having all the mandatory paperwork completed ‘prior to entry of confined space’(instead of the common/convenient way of doing it afterwards), could assist you in formulating functional Safety Compliance and or Emergency Response Plans. Pick a significant security breach issue that could happen – then find solutions in what resources would be needed to not only meet compliance but exceed it. This at times requires some lateral thinking balanced on ongoing consultation with the workforce and other departments.
The difficult we deal with daily – dealing effectively with the impossible, starts with more effort.