With Halloween just around the corner, it’s the time of year when things go bump in the night… or should we say bump on your head?
The world of health and safety is full of jump scares. One wrong move and you could find yourself face-to-face with a nasty injury—or worse, death. And no, we’re not being dramatic.
It may surprise you, but some health & safety near misses can bear a striking resemblance to your favourite horror film…
Mollie Eckersley, BrightHR Operations Manager, ANZ, shares some of the petrifying near misses that real clients have logged on our BrightSafe software, which helps keep businesses and their people safe and on the right side of health & safety laws quickly and easily. Pass the popcorn because these will have you on the edge of your seat.
“Those who are familiar with wincing their way through the Final Destination franchise will probably find the sensation quite similar to some real-life health & safety near misses our clients have encountered. Unfortunately for these employers, however, they can’t just fast forward through these near misses like they’re movie scenes.
“Take this near miss for example: one employee of a small business that we work with dodged a gory situation when he decided to take a breather and lean on a glass panel window, which promptly collapsed. The employee was luckily unharmed, but the outcome could have been fatal, especially if the window hadn’t been on the ground floor.
“If that’s not enough to spook you, we had another case where an employee just missed a ceiling tile falling on their head. Stressful workdays are enough of a headache, this incident could’ve taken the cake.
“But every employer’s worst nightmare is probably those incidents that most people can relate to—like getting trapped in a lift. In real life, this isn’t quite as terrifying as filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan’s plot-twist-filled Devil may leave you thinking. But, it’s still a situation that can be sidestepped easily with adequate maintenance procedures.
“All thrillers generally have a villain to keep the thrills coming. In the case of this cleaner who, following instructions, entered the wrong house believing they were on their client’s property. The homeowner, unsurprisingly, didn’t take kindly to the unexpected visitor and became aggressive. A scary way to be reminded of the importance of double-checking information and having the right policies in place to protect lone workers.
“If you’re of the belief that all-nighters aren’t the most effective productivity booster then this near miss will cement that. This client’s employee was putting in some extra hours, and then came to the realisation that his colleagues had headed home, leaving him locked in at the premises. Likely feeling spooked—and possibly homesick—he broke a window to escape. An incident that seems commonplace enough to deserve paying attention to the procedures you’ve put in place when it comes to closing up at the end of the day.
“There’s a lesson at the end of every movie, even the most blood-soaked ones, and these near misses come with their own cautionary tales. Namely—the importance of following ironclad health & safety practices and the need for employers to be proactive when it comes to securing employees’ safety and wellbeing.
“Australian employers need to make it a priority to stay on top of risk assessments, maintenance checks, employee training, and safety equipment. Even general best practices like encouraging open communication can help time-poor employers stay on top of potential hazards. Having these measures in place and tracking all near misses are key to building safer work environments and stopping those near misses from escalating into health & safety incidents.”