A bedrock principle of industrial safety is knowledge about job hazards and the procedures to follow to keep them from producing harm. Training and job safety briefings are two key processes providing this essential knowledge.
Most places, most days, most jobs, that knowledge is present. But every once in a while, it is missing in action: at the point where the work is done, hazards are not properly understood; procedures to manage those hazards are not known.
When that happens, the results can be catastrophic. Here’s a tragic example:
Whether you’re the leader passing out assignments or the follower who’s been assigned the job, there’s a critical lesson to be learned from the tragedy. It’s found in this part of the story:
The “..procedure was not stored in physical form….nor was it easy to locate on the company’s intranet. Eight of nine workers …. said they’d never seen the …. procedure.”
The lesson is clear:
- For the leader: make absolutely sure your followers understand the procedure before the job starts.
- For the follower: if you don’t know or understand the procedure, don’t start the job.