… Previously at Trying To Be Safe Ltd

Last month, our hero Edsel Murphy, the safety manager at TTBS, like Travis at The Alamo, has drawn a line on the ground beyond which eye protection must be worn regardless of risk. He has done this out of desperation to reduce the chances of eye injuries by forcing the wearing of eye protection.

Episode 2

Edsel sits in his office head in hands, door closed, tacitly aware of a queue of complainants that must be assembling in the corridor. Taking a deep breath he admits the first malcontent.

Green line on tarmac

First up is Mike Meanswell. Mike is a safety rep’ and used to be a steward when the site was still unionised. Mike is atypical of many safety rep’s on the site as he is genuinely interested the safety of his workmates. Sadly TTBS doesn’t recognise safety rep’s as useful members of society (with some justification on this site) so Mike is an underutilised safety resource.

“Don’t tell me it’s about ‘the green line’ isn’t it?” sighs Edsel.

“Too right” chuckles Mike “This morning I’ve already seen Harry Smith and Danny Wesson walking right along the line without their spec’s on.”

Smith and Wesson are a couple of craftsmen who are bright but unambitious. They are basically bored and so look for any distraction during the day. Their favourite sport is management baiting and ‘The Green Line’ is gold dust to them.

“Mike you know why I’ve done it.”

Mike pulls up a chair.

“Yeah but you might have warned everyone at least.”

“C’mon I’ve been discussing it at the safety committee for months and it’s been in the minutes and a ‘red top’ on it has been issued” whines Edsel.

“Good point Edsel but no one reads these things and now to make it happen you’re probably going to have to start disciplining people to in the not too distant future.”

“Shoot Smith and Wesson?” suggests Edsel.

“Let’s get our heads together and come up with a plan.”

That afternoon, Edsel attends the daily management meeting. He has a regular ten minute slot which he fought tooth and nail to get. Most attendees take the opportunity to check their email during Edsel’s slot but today they are all ears. Many of them have made good use of the early part of the meeting to cravenly distance themselves from the ‘Green Line Decision’ despite having endorsed it barely a month before.

The site manager is Alec Fergieplus who pursues a somewhat dated management style, the rest of the management team are terrified of him.

Fergieplus turns to Edsel and begins ‘the jet engine treatment’. The spineless characters inhabiting the room kick back their chairs and prepare to enjoy the fun. Edsel has witnessed/ received these rants on numerous occasions and occupies himself studying the veins standing out on Fergieplus’ neck while wondering if he may not be long for this world. Mrs Bonnylass, the tea lady, enters the room after a perfunctory knock and Fergieplus becomes visibly calmer, he finishes his tirade with the phrase,

“So what are you going to do about it?”

“Well,” Edsel responds, “we’re going to educate the workforce about consequences and then we’re going to look at a behavioural safety programme.”

“Behavioural what?” exclaims Fergieplus, spraying custard cream crumbs across the table.

Stay tuned for episode 3

  • What is behavioural safety?
  • Will Smith and Wesson be shot?
  • Why does Mrs Bonnylass have such a calming influence on Alec?

All or none of these questions will be answered next month.