Search Results for: Mistake

SCnSP – Why Are People Making ‘Stupid Mistakes’?

♦♦  SAFETY CULTURE   &   SAFETY PERFORMANCE  ♦♦
Feb 2016

WHY ARE PEOPLE MAKING
‘STUPID MISTAKES’?

(Why we do what we do)

graphic depicting the word mistake crossed out

I suppose it is tempting,
if the only tool you have is a hammer,
to treat everything as if it were a nail.

— Abraham Maslow, Toward a Psychology of Being

     

One of the most frequent comments I get when talking to people about safety is: “Why are people making stupid mistakes?”. In many people’s minds this then extends to the (illogical) conclusion that people who make mistakes are stupid.

Apart from being a generalisation and over-simplification of a complex behavioural issue, one which often leads to stereotyping, it also shines a light on the power of the made up mind.

When we assume that the mistake was stupid, we are ourselves making the first mistake. Until we have established why people did what they did, is it really a mistake or the result of a genuine effort to do the right thing which did not work out as intended?

There are many reasons why things are done differently at the ‘sharp end’ and these are often overlooked when we try and find the cause of a ‘deviation’:

  • We are thinking humans with reason, memories and moods
  • We make adjustments to stay on course, but things can still go wrong
  • A mis- (wrong) take is a behaviour and not a personality trait
  • There is no one size fits all – some are more prone to making mistakes than others
  • We all take risks, the level varying over time and with mood
  • We don’t always read people and situations correctly
  • We are good at finding mistakes, especially in hindsight, and at blaming others
  • Our schooling is based on marking papers by finding mistakes
  • There are many kinds of intelligence and people who are seen to make stupid mistakes in one domain are often highly intelligent in another respect – IQ, EQ, NS … whatever “quotients” or “smarts” you want to use  [1].

That being said, it cannot be denied that there are some actions which are avoidable:

  • Lack of awareness and making assumptions
  • Lack of care for others and property
  • Bad analysis and being willfully ignorant
  • Taking ‘lazy’ shortcuts without thinking about what we are doing
  • Allowing ourselves to be distracted
  • Allowing worry and fear to cloud our judgement
  • Not making time to stop and think about the consequences of our actions
  • Too much haste and too much noise to see clearly

ACTION

  1. Be careful before blaming ‘the PEOPLE factor’ – don’t assume the person / people made a mistake. Without people making adjustments and controlling processes, virtually nothing in this world would function on its own
  2. Don’t look for and label things which do not conform to your standards as a ‘mistake’ or ‘near miss’.
  3. Shift your mindset from ‘preventing things from going wrong’ (re-active) to ‘ensuring things go right’ (pro-active). This is in line with ‘catch people doing the right thing’ and giving recognition  [2].
  4. Encourage and reward employees to share what they have to do or adjust to ensure ‘things go right’ (production, quality, costs, etc.), especially when the rules don’t work and no one is looking or checking up.

[1]    Types of intelligence (smarts) – Nature / Musical / Number / Reasoning / Existential / People / Self / Body / Word / Picture

[2]    Safety I & Safety II by Erik Hollnagel

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GM It’s My Mistake

♦♦♦     IT’S MY MISTAKE     ♦♦♦

This is a sequel to my blog entitled: “Safety Misconceptions: What can we learn from them” (pub 19 Oct 2011), wherein I mentioned that I had recently been involved in a bike accident and promised to tell readers about it – what happened and why, what I learnt from my root cause analysis, and the concept of ‘being lucky’.

It's My Mistake by Jurgen Tietz Safety Speaker I have been riding motor bikes for over 40 years and recently bought a new bike. I was still getting used to the different feel and handling of this bike the night I had … NOcaused … the accident! I didn’t see the poorly marked kerb in the middle of the road and hit it straight on.
I am sharing this with you, because there are so many lessons for me, which you will find useful as well.
  • It is tough to practise what you preach. I talk about safety to thousands of people, but when I do something that causes an incident at home or to me personally, things look different.
    Then the phrase “kungumsebenzi wami” = “it’s my responsibility” suddenly takes on a different meaning. It is no longer merely words.
  • I talk about “accidents don’t just happen, they are caused“, but when something ‘happens’ to me, I tend to look at who or what can I blame.
  • I make a point of telling my audiences that “Luck and Safety do not go together“. After this incident I have to change my tune, because I was fortunate. I could still be lying in hospital in the ICU unit.
    (That actually happened to a safety professional and fellow biker in Australia, who spent over six months in hospital.)
  • By causing an accident, I inflicted pain, worry and trouble on others. Being sorry does not make up for that. When something ‘happens’ to me, I tend to think about myself first and foremost. Imagine the worry and concern of my wife, Heidi, after I called her!
  • Don’t underestimate the importance of safety measures to prevent accidents being caused in the first place. In this case, the road markings, lanes, as well as stripes on the kerb and reflective chevron signage indicating the kerb.
  • Wearing the right PPE (full leathers) saved my life. The jacket’s arms were torn to shreds, the gloves badly scraped and full of holes. The crash helmet, new and perfectly fitted, was damaged beyond repair but prevented a concussion.
  • Driving a new bike or car, or operating a new machine, brings with it a risk. When using new equipment, we are not yet doing things “automatically” and have to “take our eyes off the road”. This makes doing the 204 Risk Assessment, before you do a job, even more critical. (I didn’t – only briefly thought about which route I was going to take.)
  • When I do have an incident, I do think about what happened and why. Like many, however, outside the factory / mine gate / workplace, I do not spend near enough time doing a Root Cause Analysis, i.e. asking What, When, Where, Who, How, Why (5 X) and what am I going to do to prevent it from happening again.

Take ACTION and remind all your employees that a SAFETY CULTURE includes investigating incidents which happen outside the workplace.

Encourage all to SHARE SAFETY INCIDENTS and especially to GIVE FEEDBACK about the LESSONS LEARNT and steps taken to ENSURE THEY DON’T HAPPEN AGAIN!.

This is a good SAFETY AWARENESS exercise to do with your teams.

You can read what action I am taking to prevent having another bike accident like this one on my BLOG.

RISK ASSESSMENT – the “204”

Take “2” minutes to think about what you are going to do and that it will be “0harm and that you are following the “4steps to safety:

  • Is this a dangerous situation?
  • Do I have the right tools & equipment for the job?
  • Am I doing something which is risky, or taking a short cut?
  • What am I going to do about it?
If you’d like to know more about how to deal with mistakes and failure, ask me to send you a story out of my book entitled “Lotte’s Office, the Pipe & Press” (which deals with innovation and failure).
Want to comment on this SIMPLY SMART SAFETY™ Tip or share your insights with me?
You are more than welcome to do so here.
© Copyright:Jürgen Tietz

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It’s My Mistake

Following on from my blog ‘Safety Misconceptions: What can we learn from them‘, and my just-published group mail about my bike accident, I need to share with you the ACTION I am taking to prevent another bike accident like this one.

Although many might argue that I should no longer drive a motor bike after my accident, the argument is flawed. It is the same as saying to someone who was involved in a vehicle accident that they should no longer drive a car!

What needs to happen is to learn the lesson and take preventative ACTION.

  • In future I will no longer drive my bike at night or in low light conditions or on treacherous roads.
  • I will avoid driving on back roads which are poorly marked and lit, with no signage and in general not well maintained.
  • I have replaced my crash helmet with a new one, even though the damaged one could be repaired / touched up.
  • I am getting a new leather jacket with special padding at the vulnerable areas like the arms and elbows. The same goes for my hand gloves.
  • I will take special care with my new bike and make sure I get used to the different feel and controls. To help with this I have joined the Harley Davidson Club on their breakfast runs and also their advanced driver training sessions.

I will not make the same mistake twice!

See you on the road …
Jürgen

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SCnSP – Rework Your Safety Approach

♦♦  CULTURE   &   SAFETY PERFORMANCE  ♦♦
Feb 2018
     

Re‘-Work Your Safety Approach

Including your H&S Rep Training

Empowered Safety Rep

     

Let’s re-examine the real reason why safety is important.

We want our employees to return home to reunite with their families, every day. We want our assets and plants to remain in a safe and productive state. We want to re-use our resources and be relentless in reducing waste and effluent. Our operations need to be refined to reach the goal of reliably producing environment-friendly products.

Often, one of the causes of problems with safety is that we repeat old mistakes, over and over and over again. We need to recollect and learn from the past. One of the ways to do this is by conducting managerial reviews as part of our management system and standards.

The ‘RE‘ words

These are really important for safety because they’re action words and safety is not a once-off exercise.

RETURN  to the basics of safety.
REDISCOVER  the power of people – driven by a safety vision.
REQUEST  involvement and participation by all in safety.
REVIEW  your safety approach – reactive or proactive?
RECONSIDER  your safety recipe – approach.
RENEW  your safety systems and approach.
REFRESH  your approach – no papers, posters and pamphlets.
REINVENT  how you engage your people in safety.
REFLECT  on your attitude towards safety.
RECOGNISE  safe  behaviour and results.
REINFORCE  safe behaviour.
REWARD  Disruptive Safety[1] – better, faster, cheaper, safer.
RECHARGE  your safety efforts – our safety batteries are limited.
RETHINK  the repercussions of taking chances.
RECALL  incidents and remind employees of the consequences.
REVISE and REWRITE  your procedures to include safety.
RE-EXAMINE  what is preventing safety success.
REMOVE  causes of / reasons for unsafe behaviour.
RECTIFY  unsafe conditions promptly.
REPAIR  broken or damaged equipment or assets.
RESTORE  safety equipment and devices.
REPRIMAND  reckless behaviour.

Note

The word REACT is not in the above list because that is the most important behaviour / action to avoid in safety. A reactive approach focuses on compliance and corrective action only, rather than on prevention and doing the right things.
Also note that the words REVIEW, RECONSIDER, RENEW and REFRESH are all key to Disruptive Safety™ and that is why we have created The Safety Rep’s Survival Guide and are running in-house workshops.

Picture: Disruptive safety call to action icon

Ask yourself and your team:

Are you giving your internal customers (company employees) what they need or ordered, or are you merely flogging them stuff you think they should have or do, i.e. things they didn’t ask for, don’t understand or accept, can’t use and don’t value?

Don’t brush this off. This is a critical question if you want to get buy-in from the people you serve. It’s easy to assume that co-workers / employees don’t know what’s required in order to keep them safe. How do you know what it is that they do or don’t know if you haven’t asked them?

Listen and respect the input from those who ‘push the buttons and use the tools’. Accept their recommendations and legalise their actions = make them safe. This is where your H&S Reps play a critical role, provided they have been properly educated and empowered.

[1]   Disruptive Safety™ promotes a futuristic approach to safety which shifts the safety paradigm from ‘Preventing wrong’ to ‘Ensuring right’. Read more

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Nigel Risner, my international professional speaking colleague, who granted me permission to adapt the ‘RE’ concept for purposes of this safety tip.
[www.nigelrisner.com]

ESSENTIAL LINKS

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SM – Mother’s Rules

♦♦♦    SAFETY MATTERS    ♦♦♦
Aug 2009
     

Mother’s Rules

     

The term health, safety and environment (HS&E) is used widely. We appoint HS&E, SHE, or H&S Representatives, but the quality of the ‘H’ component of our management systems is often very low.

At some of the companies that I have visited, heath and hygiene does not really feature in the agenda or the actions of management, representatives or workers, except in the HS&E policy pasted on the walls.

Would you like to be operated on in a hospital where the ‘H’ does not feature? I often see personal protective equipment (PPE) that could not protect the wearer and has even become a health risk in itself!

This self-imposed risk is especially true for the way that some workers treat their disposable PPE, like disposable ear plugs, disposable dust masks and gloves. Imagine your surgeon using soiled rubber gloves and contaminated face masks. Or imagine re-using condoms. No surgeon and no informed worker would do such things, yet some workers used soiled respirators and breathe contaminated air into their lungs!

disposable dust mask being reused

Workers should take good care of all their PPE. Disposable PPE should not be stored once it becomes dirty. Workers, supervisors, managers and HS&E specialists should discuss the long-term health risks of exposure to hazards like dust, bright light, low light, noise and hazardous chemicals. Where they do not have enough reliable information, they should call on specialists to provide information. Suppliers, hygienists and occupational health staff would be glad to assist.

Where workers, supervisors, managers and specialists find that they do not all agree on the nature or level of the risk, or on the best course for preventing loss, they should likewise call on specialists and investigate the occupational health issues until they reach agreement at all levels of the organisation.

Ten House Rules

To help raise awareness about health and hygiene, ‘H’, I use a cake of soap with Mother’s Rules printed on the wrapping:

Mother's Rules

These are basic ‘house rules’ about health that everyone should have learnt at home. Everyone, except mothers, tends to forget the rules from time to time. Perhaps mothers like repeating these rules because only fools would argue with them! Workers are legally obliged to follow health and hygiene rules.

Employers, like mothers, have many obligations too. Employers have to assess health risks and supply the soap and other appropriate cleaning material. They have to ensure a work environment free from health risks.

Health and hygiene management may be a matter of minor or mildly serious infections at home, but at work it could be a matter of serious infection, fatal exposure, or long-term exposure resulting in chronic disease.

Mothers use common sense to train young people how to avoid hazards at home. At work, the hazards are larger, more complex and there are more of them. Workers should not make the mistake of believing that common sense alone will save them from harm.

Employers have to make a special and continuous effort to find hazards, assess the risk to workers and visitors, make workers aware of the pathways of exposure, teach them how to avoid harm and provide the right PPE at the places and times where some exposure cannot be avoided.

Workers have the legal obligation to learn and follow these occupational health procedures. Where workers ‘forget’ or ignore the ‘house rules’, employers are dutybound to use discipline – in the spirit of love – just like mothers do!

Full PPE (1)Full PPE (2)

Operators wearing full PPE

ESSENTIAL LINKS

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The Safety Rep’s Survival Guide  –  what it is and why you need it

Let me help your staff reflect upon, recommit to and be responsible for championing your safety culture.

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SCnSP – Your Call Is Important To Me

♦♦  SAFETY CULTURE   &   SAFETY PERFORMANCE  ♦♦
Mar 2016

Phone etiquette is key to customer relations and, with the proliferation of ACD & IVR switchboards and mobile phones, it has evolved.  Has your corporate culture kept pace?

     

YOUR CALL IS IMPORTANT TO ME

(Mobile) Connectivity

graphic depicting caller on the phone

     

The number you have called is not available. Please try again later.

I can’t take your call right now, I’m in a meeting.

I’m not available at the moment, but please leave your name and number, and I will call you back, as soon as possible!

My personal favourite: “Your call is important to us. Please hold for the next available consultant“, followed by Beethoven’s 9th Symphony alternating with advertising / information messages … over and over and over again.

And let’s not forget this important message: “For Quality and Training purposes your call may be recorded“. For heavens’ sake … If quality was important to them they would answer my darned call and not put me in a queue for ages! [1]

I’ve heard these and similar voice messages a hundred times, or more, and every time I asked myself: Really? Is the client really important to you? Are you really not available, or just in another meeting? Or is it just a question of you being unable to prioritise the urgent and important stuff?

Recently, for one of my projects, I tried to contact about 30 people. I say ‘tried’ because 80% of them couldn’t be reached on their mobile number and either don’t listen to their voicemail or don’t return calls. Why are we sitting with this endemic corporate sickness?

At one stage, I used to say to myself (as I’m sure many still do): “I am busy, if YOUR call is important to YOU, then you can call ME back!” That changed radically when I became self-employed. Every missed call is now, for me, a missed opportunity. Even when I am in a meeting, I will take a call from my wife, Heidi.

One of the reasons for carrying a mobile phone is instant connectivity. Even if circumstances dictate that you can’t immediately take a call (driving is a good example), you should still acknowledge the call by phoning the person back later.

ACTION

  1. Listen to your own message. What is it telling others about you, or your company? Turn the tables and try to see it from the caller’s perspective.
  2. Ask yourself: If I were self-employed, how would I deal with my phone calls? “Call back later” may be interpreted to mean that you are not interested, potentially losing you a business opportunity.
  3. Don’t use an auto responder unless you absolutely have to. Acknowledge the call. This doesn’t mean you have to take the call and enter into a long conversation. It means taking the initiative by offering to phone back or asking the caller to phone you at a certain time.
  4. Don’t use a term like ‘as soon as possible’. Make it a habit to follow up on missed calls and call-backs daily.
  5. Look at the 80/20 rule. 80% of people who call you on a regular basis probably need an urgent decision or want to share information with you. Ask yourself why? Has it got something to do with the way you manage and empower people? It’s your call!

[1]    Rod Jones, of Contact Centre Consulting CC

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GM – S-T-R-E-T-C-H-E-D   THIN

♦♦  SAFETY CULTURE   &   SAFETY PERFORMANCE  ♦♦
Jan 2016
 

S-T-R-E-T-C-H-E-D  THIN

(not a recommended diet plan)

 

I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.
— Bilbo Baggins in “The Fellowship of the Ring” by J.R.R. Tolkien
graphic depicting butter being spread on slice of bread

Many people and companies are feeling s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d going into 2016. Many are aware that they have to revise what they do and how they do it. Perfect timing – it’s a new year!

A new year is a bit like a new day … it’s an opportunity to start fresh, to apply what has been learnt from experience, to correct mistakes, to be a better version of oneself, to do things in a better way.

The realisation or acknowledgement that one has the opportunity to “start anew” is energising. But it requires some thought. Does one need a “new start”? Why? What will one do differently? Is it better and will it give one the desired results? What steps must be taken?

As I’m sure you’ve noticed by now, I am often inspired by Seth Godin’s posts and how they frequently underline my thinking on safety. In his post entitled  Is it too little butter, or too much bread? [1],  Seth reflects on resources, or rather, a perceived shortage thereof.

“Insufficient resources to get a job done / completed” – it unfailingly features in the Top 10 Excuses List.  But it needn’t, if you’re smart about what you do with the “safety butter” you have.

As Seth says: “… doing a great job with what we’ve got is the single best way to get a chance to do an even better job with more, next time.” [1]

Having to make do with less engenders creativity.
But you don’t even have to get creative.
Just G-R-O-W your SHE Reps.

Instead of getting more safety professionals to do more audits, create more paperwork, write more reports and procedures … enable your existing people to become active Safety Representatives.

So, if you’re feeling s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d, make the most of what you have.
As a leader, make it your underlying goal for 2016 to equip your people to do the best job they can.
As a SHE Rep, make it your underlying goal for 2016 to equip yourself to do the best job you can.

I wish you a productive and successful 2016.
May you G-R-O-W into your dreams and goals.

[1]    “Is it too little butter, or too much bread?

A NEW YEAR’S GIFT FOR YOU

photo of tent calendar for 2016 courtesy of Jurgen Tietz

Download this printable 2016 tent calendar, with my compliments.

STI WEEK & VALENTINE’S DAY GOODIE BOX

This is a Special Edition of the
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created specifically for the upcoming
STI/Condom Week and Valentine’s Day.

See what’s in it

Stocks are limited and time is running out …
so get your order in NOW!

About STI/Condom Week

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GM – World Day for Safety and Health at Work 2012

WORLD  DAY  for  SAFETY  and  HEALTH  at  WORK
28 April 2012
Mar 2012

 

Theme:

 Green Jobs:
Promoting Safety and Health
in a Green Economy

 The ILO celebrates its annual ‘World Day for Safety and Health at Work’ on 28 April to promote the prevention of occupational accidents and diseases globally. It is an awareness-raising campaign intended to focus international attention on emerging trends in the field of occupational safety and health and on the magnitude of work-related injuries, diseases and fatalities worldwide.

It is also the day in which the world’s trade union movement holds its International Commemoration Day for Dead and Injured Workers to honour the memory of victims of occupational accidents and diseases …

… In many parts of the world, national authorities, trade unions, employers’ organizations and safety and health practitioners organize activities to celebrate this date. We [the ILO] invite you to join us in celebrating this significant day and share with us the activities you organize. 

  This year’s theme

 … There is a shift in the world to a greener and more sustainable economy. However, even if certain jobs are considered to be “green”, the technologies used may protect the environment but not be safe at all.

… A true green job must integrate safety and health into design, procurement, operations, maintenance, sourcing and recycling policies, certification systems and OSH quality standards. This is especially relevant for sectors such as construction, waste recycling, solar energy production and biomass processing. 

Content courtesy of ILO.
More information is available on their website.

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SCnSP – Lessons from Cats

♦♦  SAFETY CULTURE   &   SAFETY PERFORMANCE  ♦♦

In this series, I share with you my thoughts on Why Safety Is An Issue For Most Companies and the Things We Must Address If We Want To Improve Our Safety Performance. The “Trust Factor” is one of those fundamental things.

Lessons from Cats

(Near Hit and Incident reporting)

graphic depicting cat - trust - expose soft belly

My wife and I love animals. We have two large dogs and five cats. It is my act of love to brush the cats every Saturday. Lula, the oldest one, is full of trust and flops onto her back, exposing her soft underbelly without any problem. Pippa, on the other hand, would never do this voluntarily and will only expose her underbelly in an all-claws-out fight!

So why do these cats behave so differently? The answer lies in one word – trust.

Lula was born on our bed, showered with care and love for the entire 16 years of her life. She has no hesitation to present herself in the most vulnerable position. Pippa, on the other hand, is one of our rescue children and grew up somewhere in the gutters of Benoni. She had to fend for herself, got ‘raped’ at six months of age and was left with a litter of kittens. Who knows what else has happened to her? Her deep-rooted mistrust throws her into sheer distress when I turn her onto her back to brush her belly.

The link to safety and, indeed, leadership.

Do your people trust you enough to expose their soft underbelly to you?

By that I mean:

  • Do they trust you enough so as to disclose all the near hits, incidents, cuts and bruises, breach of rules and procedures and mistakes, not only in terms of safety, but also in quality, costs, human relations, and …
  • You expect them to report these occurrences, but what have you done to earn their trust? Is your company culture a “Lula” experience with reliable care and love? Or is it a “Pippa” experience of wariness, where people get penalised for mistakes, feel they have to watch their backs and have learned to trust no one?

ACTION

  • Don’t brush this off as another sermon about the soft side of business. This is a fundamental issue. If you don’t really listen, respect, recognise, care and relate to your people, with integrity, you cannot expect them to expose their underbelly to you in full trust.
  • Analyse your emotional balance sheet – penalty vs praise. We are experts at holding up the red card and hardly ever show a green card – the pat on the back, a genuine thank you for doing the everyday things, for sticking to the rules, for ideas, for their commitment, for finishing the project, for …
  • Allow your subordinates to hold up the mirror to their / your leaders, without fear or favour.
    “The mirror we hold up to the person next to us is one of the most important pictures he / she will ever see.” — Seth Godin
    I am not a big fan of surveys, but an anonymous, simple survey might help you?

REFERENCE MATERIAL

“Trust and Respect” – from the book Life EduAction by Jürgen Tietz

“Care and Growth” approach by Etsko Schuitema

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GM – Out of the Blue

♦♦♦   ROAD SAFETY   ♦♦♦

Out of the Blue

accidents are caused

I have been preaching: “Accidents don’t just happen – they are caused by someone choosing to do the wrong thing or choosing not to do the right thing“. This could be via design, maintenance, use, disposal, or an outright, deliberate choice to break the rules or to take a short cut.

But, what if you are the victim of such action, an innocent passer-by, in the wrong place at the wrong time? Here is a story of a young couple on holiday in the USA:

“Tonight we had a really, really close shave. I was driving and we’d just pulled up to a petrol station, when, I kid you not, literally a few seconds later, an out of control car came hurtling out of nowhere from the intersection, smashing us into the petrol station pump. The driver, it later turns out, was very high, drunk and out of his mind. Some very nice gentlemen from the Louisiana State Troopers got hold of and arrested him a bit later.

We got out of the car ok. Jess, being on the passenger side, is a lot more bruised than I am, but luckily no battery sparks or the like and luckily the pump’s fail-safe kicked in and the flow of petrol, except that from our car’s tank, was automatically cut off immediately.

It was very close though … the terror of having yourself and your wife slammed into a petrol pump by an oncoming car. Also, I can now fairly confidently say, never rent the cheapest cars that are short a safety feature, airbag or reinforced side door here or there; and please award a Nobel Prize for the person who invented side airbags.”

Photo showing the vehicle smashed into the fuel pump at the gas station

Accidents happen every day. The reason this particular accident touched me deeply is because the young people involved are my son and his wife.

As with so many road accidents, natural disasters / events or crime incidents, they can (and do) happen anytime, anywhere, to anyone, for no reason at all. There is little that the ‘victim’ can do about it. Well, let me rephrase that: there is little the ‘victim’ can do about preventing the random event.

You can, however, take pro-active measures to minimise the impact of an incident and the ‘luck factor’ [1]. Unfortunately, unless you’re with the Navy Seals or have access to sophisticated behaviour modification training, there is little effective training to deal with being a victim of such an event. Thinking and being aware are your best defences. Of course, there is no fail proof solution, but here are a few things we all, as individuals, can do:

ACTION

  • Think about ‘What If’ scenarios, the consequences and what you can do to minimise the risk should any of those scenarios materialise.
  • Look at your ‘Near Hits’. Ask what happened, why it happened (dig down by repeating this question a number of times) and, most importantly, what you can do to prevent it from happening again – or at least to reduce the damage or injuries.
  • Be alert to your surroundings and actions. Use the traffic light rules:
    • Be aware of your green = safe situations, like being at home and relaxing in a safe environment.
    • When leaving home and getting onto the roads your awareness level should change to amber = pay attention, slow down and look for possible danger.
    • When drawing money at an ATM or approaching a hijacking hot-spot or in a crowded area, you should be at a red level of awareness = eyes in the back of your head.
  • Don’t be merely a ‘passenger’ – speak up when you see someone taking a chance or breaking the rules, like going down the killer road of F-S-D = FATIGUE-SPEED-DEVIATION (including drink / drugs).  
    “The mirror we hold up to the person next to us is one of the most important pictures he / she will ever see.”
    — Seth Godin
  • When buying or renting or merely borrowing someone else’s stuff, consider the safety features of that piece of equipment – guarding, trips and fuses, alarms, isolation features, air bags, etc.

In a future safety tip, I will deal with due diligence, HIRA and the topic of building safety into the design of plant and equipment.

 

[1]  Luck and safety don’t belong in the same equation. You cannot drive your safety efforts by relying on luck.

RELATED MATERIAL

Taking your eye off the ball / road / task

It’s My Mistake

Road Safety – Take Safety Home

Walking the Circle of Safety

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