A while back I
conned convinced my wife that it was time to upgrade our TV. I mean, it was completely justified since we hadn’t bought one for almost 8 years (don’t ask me if the old one still works, that’s irrelevant). In any case, she let me go to the store (alone no less) and sent pictures representing different size TVs so I could make an informed decision.
As soon as I got home my daughter ran up and grabbed my hand, pulling me into the corner and whispering “Dad! Mom made me do something REALLY dangerous!” Since I’d seen the pictures already, I knew she was talking about having stood on the TV stand (you know, the thing designed to support a 100 lb TV).
I thanked my daughter for letting me know and then we talked about it for a minute. I asked her to explain why she thought it was unsafe and what she would have done differently. In the end, she came to the conclusion that what had been done was OK. The key is that she now knew why. I know not everyone would agree that letting her do that was a safe activity, but the alternative would have been to have her stand on a ladder (a tool she’s not all that familiar with) and try to balance while holding the tape measure. That’s a bit riskier in my mind.
I run into things like this all the time when I’m working in the field. An employee will rush up to me in a frenzy and explain the egregiously unsafe thing the are expected to do. After evaluation, though the task may seem weird, it’s actually not a big risk. Part of our jobs as Safety Pros is to make those calls and help people understand why that HUGE THING (at least in their mind) isn’t. Never discourage those conversations or blow them off though. They are the perfect opportunity to help people understand the difference between something annoying and something that will kill you.
Here’s to a great weekend, everyone. Recharge and relax. Next week’s challenges await.