Tuesday, 27 September 2016 06:19

Think about it – you could lose your life here!

Written by Artemas-team

As a pupil you are taught to think for yourself, at least that was once the principle of education. The rationale was that it’s good to learn to think independently, that you as student, guided with the knowledge and experience of the teacher, learn to use your own intellect. The world outside is, after all, different to being in the classroom. It’s a world that 'calls for' flexibility and adaptability.

The next step in your development, when you start work after graduation, is to gain (work) experience. When you, as a new employee, commence working for a company, all too often you enter a period when it is expected of you to fully integrate the set customs of the organization. You follow an induction program where you are inundated with training programs and have to read through piles of "paper", such as plans, rules, procedures, agreements. And to ensure that you have actually read and understand the material, on completion of a segment you are asked to sign-on-the-dotted-line. For how else could you prove, in an audit for example, that you have actually undertaken and completed the induction program?

One of the aims of the induction program is that you, as new employee, are up to date with what is expected of you, how you are expected to work, who's looking over your shoulder to make sure you are actually following the program and what the consequences are if, despite all the warnings, you ‘deviate’ from the path. With all good intentions, for a large number of situations, it is already determined how you are expected to respond. As if you are a self-propelled Google car "Just do what is expected of you then nothing can go wrong. We’ve really thought it all through well." The prevailing belief is that when we stick to these rules, we run no risks! The rules are in fact conceived in response to all sorts of things that have gone wrong in the past or are suspected they might go wrong in the future. And if you simply follow the rules then it cannot, in fact, go wrong.

But what would happen if we were to remove the bulk of the rules? If we would just simply say: "Welcome to our company. We are looking for people who want to (continue to) use their own intellect and insight. People who, based on their own knowledge and experience, are capable of assessing both known and unfamiliar situations in such a way that they can make well thought-out, informed decisions.

And that they are aware of the imagined reality (work-as-imagined1) but more importantly, also based upon their basic common sense, that they dare to deviate from the imagined reality (work-as-done2). An organization that is looking for people who understand that if you do "dumb" things it could cost you your life.

It goes without saying that both you (the employee) and the company (the management) wouldn’t want that. We won’t take unnecessary risks where the probability of (serious) injury is unacceptably high.

This means that together we must ensure that this does not happen. That we do not solely operate from the assumed reality - but that above all, we create space for the professional, the expert to make independent decisions - that instead of mountains of rules and procedures, we make a number of 'good' agreements on how we can ensure that here, as colleagues, we do NOT risk losing our lives.

So:

You have the honors of making sure that this does not happen!

And:

You can expect from us that we will support you wherever necessary, ultimately you are the expert!

When it comes to safety, we (employer and employee) fundamentally have similar responsibilities. Responsibility to (be able to) work safely does not lie solely with the employer or the employees. Safety is a shared responsibility that benefits from a certain degree of flexibility. By taking variation into account in our way of thinking and acting, we will be better prepared for the irregularities we are guaranteed to come across during the execution of our work. And with this in mind, it is important to realize that an excess in paperwork only leads to false security.

We want genuine safety!

1 Work-as-imagined: how it is pre-conceived that the work should be carried out

2 Work-as-done: how finally the work is actually carried out

Last modified on Saturday, 03 March 2018 08:07