Imaginary Safety Unicorns & Rainbows
I F#$@%*& Hate Cooling Towers…
Let me explain. I don’t actually hate the existence of cooling towers. I hate that they break down and fail sometimes. If you’ve read my book, you likely remember why I’m so sensitive about it (and if you haven’t read the book, you probably should). In the meantime, while you’re waiting for your new copy to arrive, I’ll get you up to speed.
Some people like to grandstand. It’s a part of life I should be used to by now. I’m not though. I still get riled up when it happens.
So here’s the scoop… Someone emailed me last week with a very accusatory tone (admit it, you know emails have tone). The message was from a VP who was very concerned about a NEAR MISS that had happened at a construction site at one of her facilities. Her contractors were very shook up about the nearly fatal event and wanted to know what was going to be done to ensure their safety at the site.
What actually happened was this: Some equipment failed and a some plastic fell off of a roof onto the ground at an unoccupied construction site where no one was working. Problem? Yes. Serious near miss? Not quite.
What if there had been people there?!?! (Gasp). What if more equipment fails in the future and bigger chunks of material come careening down to earth in flaming fireballs? What if there was a bus full of children on their first school field trip who were there to see their first construction site? All of that could happen. Doesn’t that qualify it as a near miss?
None of it actually happened. A piece of equipment failed. That equipment needs to be addressed. Hopefully we’ll learn something about preventing damage like that in the future, but the incident was not more than it was.
Safety people need to stop making things up to sell the importance of safety. It makes us look foolish. Instead, we should be using events like the one I described to partner and work on solutions. No one needs to be imaginarily sliced into human confetti in order for action to take place.
Stick to reality. People will respect you more for doing that than they will if you pontificate about the likelihood about being struck by lightening indoors.
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