In last months’ thought-provoking article with Alison Gould of British Gypsum, we pointed out the challenge of getting office-based staff to recognise the relevance of safety to them, due to the relative low risk of their working environment.
You can understand why this misconception happens. If you’re running a plant that manufactures explosives, mines gypsum, moves vehicles or operates machines, it can be hard to show concern about tripping over a cable, slipping on the stairs or getting a stiff neck from a poorly adjusted screen.
However, beyond these obvious office hazards is another dimension to office based safety. It lies in the myriad decisions made by someone sat comfortably in an office that have a significant impact elsewhere on an employee working in a higher risk work environment. For example:
- While someone in purchasing is sat on an order for protective equipment, an operator in the factory is going unprotected.
- While the HR department are prevaricating over a drivers’ disciplinary hearing, how much attention is he giving the road ahead?
- If the planning scheduler doesn’t take into account the realistic changeover times between product runs, how much pressure does that place on the production supervisor? And to what extent will he pass this on to his team?
All of the above (along with many others I’m sure you’ll be able to think of) are examples of factors in the line of dominoes that eventually line up and fall over, resulting in someone getting hurt. Someone who the instigator may never even meet.
Our Office Domino workshops use this highly effective thought model to raise awareness and improve our clients’ safety record. So if people working in your offices don’t think safety is relevant to them, perhaps use it to help them rethink.
Similarly, if you’re investigating in the wake of an accident don’t forget to keep looking for the real root cause, it might be lurking in an office somewhere.
Remember, behavioural safety isn’t just about the behaviours on the shop floor. It’s about everyone’s behaviour, whatever their role and wherever they work.