When is Safety Equipment Hazardous to your Health?

Unlike what one would suspect, auditing a client need not be limited to the confines of the checklist, standard and report. In order to have an effective outcome for all parties, it behooves the auditor to create an atmosphere of partnership and empathy such that the client is trusting and open in communication. How better for the client to come to understand correct interpretations of the standard than during lunchtime discussions? When else does the auditor come to learn of the client’s hobbies, political opinions and children’s extra-curricular activities? At what other time could the auditor hear the stories of company legends? You know – legends! Every company has had them! They are the folks who have had personality quirks or specific instances of behavior that have left them part of the company historical fabric forevermore! Well, call me lucky, but I just heard of one chap whose incident tops them all. We are all familiar with those foam ear plugs that many companies provide to protect their employees who are exposed to high levels of noise. Apparently this chap needed clearer instruction as to their insertion as he utilized a cotton swab to push them in each ear…until they were invisible to the eye and certainly not retrievable! This creativity to insure that his ears were most protected resulted in an incident report that had to explain how the safety equipment was hazardous and a trip to the hospital. Imagine the corrective action! You have seen them before; labels instructing you to remove baby before collapsing stroller? Or perhaps it is best explained by a cube posting in another area of the same company attributed to the late actor John Wayne: “Life is hard. It’s harder when you are stupid.” You have got to love company legends.