Last month I told you about the problems I had because the beautiful people interviewing for Qatar Airways were distracting my training.
What I did not tell you last month was … the venue had a safety hazard.
The hazard was temporary, and easily fixed, but that does not change the fact that it existed.
One of my jobs as a training facilitator is to take charge of the class and deliver it to safety in the event of an incident. In about 180 training courses, I have had to evacuate twice. Of the two, one was a planned drill announced in advance, and the other was a caused by a faulty sensor.
I have a PowerPoint slide that is part of my intro – it prompts me on all “general housekeeping items” such as where are the washrooms, where we have break, have me check for any special diet issues, and … show them the fire exits. I prefer to show instead of tell.
And this leads me to my temporary safety issue – one of the fire exits was blocked. It was blocked by furniture, so it was temporary, but it was still blocked. I made the discovery while the venue was empty (when I was setting up).
I do not feel it worthwhile to tell the name of the venue, but I did demand a meeting with the venue manager. The manager was very apologetic, but I was disappointed in the lack of surprise that the incident had occurred.
The one time we had to evacuate in an unplanned manner … the venue had advised me (when I was checking before the session started) that a member of staff would escort us out. After waiting about 1 minute after the alarm activated, and no member of staff in sight, I decided to evacuate the group myself. We evacuated without incident, and later I approached the manager about the “incident”. It turns out this was not known to the manager, and I was advised their policies would be reviewed and updated (I did not hear about any updates, nor did I feel I should follow up with the venue).
If you look, it is amazing what unsafe “things” you can find that others have overlooked. Some of the ones from my personal life outside of my work:
- Telling an airline their pre-take-off safety briefing video was a hazard. The issue … the person in the video reached up to get a life vest (when the life vest was stored under my seat)
- Asking an airline for a seat belt extension (I am a fat guy) and finding it did not fit into the buckle. There was another on-board – the flight attendant told me someone had grabbed the wrong bag
- Turning down a ride in a taxi, because the driver was willing to transport our large group, when the number of people in the taxi would exceed the number of seat belts in the taxi
- Statues with sharp edges in the median strip of the main street of my local shopping centre.
- And when I was in university, I was in my mathematics class, when I looked out the window out of boredom and saw part of this happen
The taxi was not reported, and I did not need to report the plane crash, but I did report the other three. The median strip statues have been removed (others also complained about the same issue). I do not know the result of the first two.
Clearly, safety does not end at work, and it can manifest itself in many places, in many forms. It is just a matter of thinking about what you see, and then responding appropriately.