… Previously at Trying To Be Safe Ltd

It is five years into the future at Trying To Be Safe (TTBS) Limited. Edsel Murphy, our heroic safety champion, waits in the TTBS company car stack whilst his Boeing Mandible MK III Hovercar parks itself. Whilst he waits he ponders how things have changed in the last five years at TTBS.

Alex Fergieplus left on ill health retirement having developed an unidentified stress related illness after a period of hospitalisation following an encounter with Mrs Bonnylass’ husband. Edsel enjoys the irony given that Fergieplus used to consider that people suffering from stress at work should “man up” or “needed a good shake”.

Newly divorced Mercedes Lexus (commercial) was promoted several years ago to HQ in Milan where she is conducting a somewhat indiscreet affair with the chief executive, Ferrari Lamborghini.

Bill Counter (finance) has been detained at Her Majesty’s pleasure in Ford open prison. He protests his innocence maintaining that there has been no wrong doing on his part and that the money was loaned to him perfectly legitimately by a grateful employer. Innocent or guilty he expects to leave the prison soon by walking out of the front gate and just telling the Group5 guards that there has been a mistake and he is to go free after all.
TTFS is now owned by the hedge fund Ponzi and Associates and there is some degree of investment to fatten the company prior to sale.

The plant has been free of lost time injuries for two years now. The COMJ consultancy was retained by Edsel to introduce the site culture-based safety programme. This commenced with a culture assessment which revealed “room for improvement” in just about every area. It also exposed that the managers had a near-Victorian attitude to safety management and this couldn’t be concealed because the survey was independent.

The next stage managing the managers had been challenging indeed. The CMOJ consultant had managed to hold his own however, and convinced the leadership that they were losing a truckload of money through injuries each year, and that if they didn’t change their ways something very nasty was sure to happen soon. They even committed to an outlandish series of leadership commitments such as “never walking past unsafe activity” – radical thinking indeed.

Barrels of toxic waste on a pallet next to a factory door

However, for Edsel the breakthrough had been the safety discussion process. This was basically people talking constructively day to day about the safety of tasks, reinforcing safe behaviour and discouraging unsafe behaviour. This simple process had transformed not only the business safety performance but how people treated each other generally, and their attitude to their working lives.

Harry Smith had become a leading light in the culture change process and had actually delivered some of the training modules himself; Danny Wesson however had left the business exclaiming “you lot have all gone soft”. Safety discussions are a part of daily life at TTBS and the findings from the discussions are being used to predict and even prevent tomorrow’s injuries.

All that Edsel has to sort out now are the nightmarish toxic discharges to drain.