• Rebekah.Orr

Are you paying attention?

Ever noticed how once you learn about something, or become interested in it, you suddenly see it everywhere? Years ago, I bought a dark green Isuzu Bighorn. I loved that beast. The thing was, I'd never realised how freakin common they were until I had to find it in a packed mall carpark. What a nightmare. Needless to say, I not only memorised the license plate, but hung a weird thing in the window (where it wouldn't obscure the driver's view of course) so I could pick MY dark green Bighorn out from the multitude of other dark green Bighorns. Its the same with anything else. Get interested in riding a motorcycle for your daily commute (or for fun) and you'll notice how many there are on the roads. Where did they all come from? Pro tip: they were always there, you just weren't really looking (and that's a whole other blog post. Road safety. Eeesh). If you develop a liking for Maseratis or Aston Martins, suddenly you'll see them everywhere (yeah, sorry, they're not *quite* as rare as their marketing department wants you to believe...).

It's a bit like that with work place safety too. See, we're in the business of helping people stay safe. That's our focus. So what we see is all the times that we COULD have prevented something from happening. Like this: https://worksafe.govt.nz/about-us/news-and-media/dump-trucks-contact-in-loading-zone/

Two separate but remarkably similar incidents of the safety protocols that should be in place failing spectacularly.

So what's the price of that failure in real terms? Well, you've got the costs of repairs or replacements for the machinery in question. Then possible fines have to be factored in. So far so bad - this deal could get pretty expensive. Your drivers might be pretty shaken; might need days off to recover, or they might even quit. You might need to fire someone.

To put no fine a point on it, its a pretty shitty situation all round. What might make it worse is the feeling that you can't do anything else: you've got the damn communication plans in place, what the hell else are you supposed to do?

Action against accidents like this is the responsibility of everyone on site; everyone needs to actually use what's there in order for it to work. From the owners, whose place it is to initiate safety plans, to the operators, who are so often accustomed to their huge machines and almost forget what they can do in terms of damage. Sometimes an operator is in a rush, under orders to get the job done asap. Mistakes happen in those situations, and if you boil the above incidents down, it's all they are. A miscommunication. A mistake. A misunderstanding of what was really going on. It could have been two fatalities - we're damn glad for all involved that they weren't. The thing is, that's more good luck than good management. It's a wake up call. What about next time? Because next time WILL happen if change doesn't. We've all made mistakes, done or said something we wish we could take back.

Don't you sometimes wish you had a pause button, so you could stop that exact second BEFORE something went wrong, so you could prevent it? We sure did.

And then we invented it. It's how AmberTrax works, like a pause button on that moment (but I won't go into that because otherwise this'd be an ad instead of a blog post...). Unfortunately it doesn't work on what you shouldn't have said during that argument with your partner... you're on your own with that one!

Take care out there!

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