What are you prepared to walk past?

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In life, not just in the workplace, what are you prepared to walk past?  Although this article is directed at the workplace (eventually), I would like to firstly start with the home. So at a young age we teach our kids right from wrong, and they are always pushing our boundaries.  If you see them drawing on the wall, and for 4 out of 5 days you tell them not to do it, the 5th day you don’t, then the 6th day you don’t,  so on and so on.  So the message you are sending to your child, is this behaviour is now acceptable behaviour, when in fact it still isn’t but you have chosen to walk past it, and now this is the standard that’s accepted.

Well this applies in the workplace.  There are some great sayings around, but a great one I like to use is

The standard you choose to walk past, is the standard you choose to accept!

So like children, some workers like to test boundaries, where others just aren’t sure on what needs to be done, or they have done it that way for years or just complete the best way they know how. So unless EVERYONE (yes you too) stop and ask questions, or ask workers that are carrying out a task unsafely to stop what they are doing, then how will that at risk behaviour ever change?

Many think that Safety responsibility lies with the Safety Officer or Manager etc of that area and its not THEIR responsibility.   Well actually, safety is everyone’s responsibility, regardless of what position you hold.  If you see something unsafe you have a DUTY OF CARE to discuss with the person conducting the at risk behaviour or raise with Management.

As a safety professional I see many unsafe acts in my day, some of which aren’t even part of my workplace or clients workplace. If safe to do so, I endeavour to take the time to point out when I think something is unsafe.

Recently on facebook I seen a local business post a picture of an unsafe act on their business facebook page with the caption Workplace health and safety: how WE do it. #whatcouldgowrong (Picture below).   Now to me, I can see things that could go wrong such as falling, overstretching, foreign body in the eye as no eye protection worn.  I contacted them and raised my concern as well as the potential negative publicity they could get from such a photo to which they responded with

Thanks for your concern. Appreciated. I’m one of the owners, and the girl drilling into the roof. Of course we’d never put any of our staff in any danger, and in fact all though it looked dodgy, it was basically staged. However, we appreciate your perspective and will definitely take it into consideration in the future.

The photo is still available on their website.  The response saying that she would never put her staff in any danger and this was the her (owner) performing this task.  To me, this is worse, as she is showing her staff and the public she has no respect for the Health and Safety Legislation that ALL workplaces must follow.

Safety compliance is not a nice to have……its a must!!

If you would like to know more, or would like a no obligation chat please call me on 0413 917722 or send me an email on cheryl@zeroexposure.com.au

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