Posted in by .

After my November blog where I lamented that people did not learn from the mistakes of others, I am pleased to notice some organisations being pro-active in improving safety. This is culturally driven, and shows the organisation is switched on to all forms of safety.

They take many forms, and some of them are quite simple, but … it is clear they were done in the interest of improving safety.

And … all of these have been observed during my most recent time in the Middle East (Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Oman).

First, I spent a bit of time at the Le Royal Meridien Hotel in Abu Dhabi. They had an evacuation map that led to a door that was usually locked. I reported this, and (I am pleased to say) they have acted with great haste to rectify the problem by getting replacement evacuation maps printed. They also kept me informed at all steps of the process (which they clearly did not need to do). While I was the initiator of this action, the fact that it was recognised, accepted, and acted upon extremely quickly with minimal need for upper level approval shows this hotel has (in my opinion) a good safety culture in place. Now … I am not going to write a glowing report on TripAdvisor about this hotel based on their safety record, but they still need to be recognised for a job well done.

Second, while in Dubai I used the services of a small laundry. The sign (in English) in the front just said “laundry” (I am convinced the full name was printed in Arabic, but not in English). Many of the smaller shops (especially during this time of year) tend to not use their air conditioner – instead using a fan and keeping the door(s) open. With temperatures in the shop about 28 deg C, it was reasonable for a short visit, and definitely saved money. Well, this laundry used a glass door – with no frame around the large piece of glass. When I left the shop, I almost walked into the door on the thin side (doing that thing where you turn and start walking before you look where you are going). The owner noticed this, and on my next visit, had rotated the reception desk about 30 degrees. The change in layout was minimal, but it greatly reduced the chance of a customer walking into the edge of the door. The owner was totally proactive, made a simple, low cost change that has nothing but positive impact. Again, they need to be recognised for a job well done.

Third, I must recognise Oman Air. They have a very good pre-flight safety briefing. Yes the pre-flight safety briefing that everyone has seen before, and the one we normally ignore and snooze through. Unlike airlines like Air New Zealand (which have used hobbits and super models for their pre-flight safety briefing) Oman Air has decided to use a simple cartoon animation. It is simple, but it is done really well. It shows families, not individuals, and it shows children being normal. There is one young boy that seems to be always looking for mischief, and his father keeps him under control with a gentle hand. <Aside … while the video does not tell parents to control their children, the visual reinforcement is very much appreciated>.  The fact that families are in the video shows how WE (a group) should act in an emergency, instead of how I (an individual) should act in an emergency. It is a simple concept done really well.

And finally, I must recognise the government of Victoria, specifically the new road accident advertisement. They are trying to change our mentality about road deaths, as we have become complacent with the status quo. They ask a very simple but hard hitting question … how many road deaths are acceptable? After a little bit of television magic, the person answering the question says … zero. And THAT is the correct answer. Somehow we need to convince others and ourselves that one is too many, and we need to improve our road safety. Legislation can only go so far – we need cultural changes (like not speeding, like not using the phone while driving, like not driving while tired, like taking breaks to refresh ourselves, etc).

So … a tip of the hat to four organisations that did something to improve the culture of safety.