Most businesses have one aspect or another that could lead to employees being injured, maimed or killed. Nurse attendants must move heavy loads, zoo attendants brave cages filled with lions, medical laboratory assistants handle dangerous chemicals, and construction zones are filled with potential hazards. Despite the hazardous conditions, many business and employees fail to take the proper precautions.
The Jurassic Park franchise is the quintessential example of a company who insufficiently planned for the safety of their employees. The Jurassic theme parks, islands, and businesses don’t have a good employee safety track record. The original movie, Jurassic Park, opens with the mauling of an employee. As the movie commences, the parks power fails, the dinosaurs escape, and one by one, the unprepared employees are hunted down by ruthless velociraptors and a ravenous tyrannosaurus Rex. By the end of the movie, only seven of the eighteen employees escape with their lives.
Twenty-two years after the original movie, the geniuses at InGen are at it again. Jurassic World, is around the corner, bigger, better, and with a genetically modified T-Rex (The Indominus Rex). What could go wrong? The fact that the trailer opens with a mother telling her child, “Remember, if something chases you, Run,” does not give me much hope for the park attendants making it through the inevitable escape of the dinosaurs alive.
Their imaginary loss of life and limb is our gain. Let’s take a moment to explore what you and your company should do to ensure you go home each day with your life, limbs, and only minor injuries.
Step 1: Ensure Workplace Safety Protocols Are In Place
Disaster plans are important to prevent damage to monetary assets, raw materials, and personnel. Every company should have disaster preparedness plans to ensure they will be able to stay one step ahead of any potential danger to their company and their employees. The number of safeguards put into place should be dependent on how many dangerous situations you, as an employee, happen to be placed into.
As the disaster plan is put into place, ensure that it is does not sacrifice employee safety to protect the company’s monetary assets or raw materials. InGen owner, John Hammond, led his company and employees to disaster when he refused to purchase the appropriate heavy artillery to deal with any dinosaurs when they escaped their pens. Better, he decided, to protect the million dollar dinosaur than his replaceable employees.
When Jurassic World was opened, InGen learned from some of their mistakes. In order to protect their dinosaurs, their staff, and their visitors, they created over 150 emergency protocols and safeguards” to deal with all of the potential dangers the carnivorous dinosaurs could create.
Over 150 safety protocols. That is the dream of any employee that works in a hazardous field. 150 safety protocols means that the managers spent thousands of hours brainstorming potential problems and developing solutions to deal with those problems.
Step 2: Reevaluate Workplace Safety Protocols Constantly
Safety is not stagnant. Every change in the company, business, or work flow presents new hazards. Jurassic World has a very sophisticated disaster plan, but disaster strikes the path when they engineered the I-Rex without truly understanding the danger the dinosaur posed. Really, it shouldn’t be that surprising when a dinosaur with the size of the T-Rex and the intelligence of a Velociraptor figured out how to climb out of its pen.
Workplace safety is dependent on the constant reevaluation of how new additions to the business and workflow effect the safety plan. As an employee, you should pay attention to if your managers are updating the safety protocols when they should. If they aren’t, bring the problem to management. If they refuse to update the plan, you might want to find a safer place to work.
Step 3: Stress Risk Management
Disaster plans are worthless if you or your co-workers cannot push past the fear and stress that the experience creates. The lawyer from Jurassic Park, for example, decided in his panic that a bathroom made of feeble wood was an ideal place to hide from a T-Rex. Even Dr. Grant, the main character, faired a little better. He kept his cool and discovered that T-Rex can’t see objects that don’t move.
Businesses can deal with equipping co-workers to deal with stress by ensuring that most of the workers hired for high stress positions have a high emotional intelligence (EI). People with a high EI are able to “understand and manage [their] emotions” more effectively. This means that when faced with a T-Rex attack, a fire, a chemical spill, or an injured colleague, they are more likely to keep their cool than their colleagues with a lower EI.
Ohio University Master of Business Administration professor Chris Moberg, who specializes in disaster preparedness, presents another strategy to ensure employees can put aside their panic long enough to keep to the disaster plan. In “Improving Supply Chain Disaster Preparedness” he suggests that management teams should “simulate disaster scenarios.” Repeated exposure to simulated scenario allows all personnel to “develop the critical decision-making and team skills needed to perform effectively during disasters.” At the end of the training period, the individual would be able to keep their cool during the disaster long enough to stick with the plan and get everyone out of the dangerous scenario safely.
Every company faces potential disaster. A Jurassic theme has a higher chance of a high employee mortality and injury disaster. This makes the Jurassic franchise a good case study to determine where problems that put employees into dangerous situations occur, how the disaster plans fail, and how individuals can ensure their own lives are not put into while carrying out their duties. With proper preparation, employees can ensure that they can effectively navigate most of the dangerous situations their work can throw at them. One last word of advice: Remember, if management doesn’t take their disaster planning seriously, run before it’s too late.
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