Saturday, May 18, 2013

No Opened Toed Shoes, except for the bully

 When you work in a management role, no matter what industry you are in, it is critically important to operation and staff morale that leaders lead by example.  Not all folks say to themselves "If the boss is doing it but I know it is wrong - I will not do the same...I must follow the rules set forth".  Yeh right!  If staff see you breaking the rules as a manager, they are going to take the opportunity to do the same.  Unless, breaking the rules goes against established safety protocol.  You don't work at a nuclear power plant and fall asleep at the panel of buttons, switches, and gauges that measure and adjust how much of the radioactive rods remain covered by cooling system water.  A couple of errant winks and it's melt-down USA.  Safety hazards do exist in the clinical laboratory.  Not as serious of repercussions as letting uranium fuel rods overheat but none the less, the hazards are real and in your face.  Bio-hazards, slips n' falls, chemical splashes, needle sticks, lacerations, dangerous inhalants, the list can go on and on. If you know where the hazards are, know how to identify them, how to safely handle them, contain them, avoid them, the clinical laboratory can be a safe place to work. 

All the safety practices employed in clinical laboratories across the globe are a culmination of trial n' error, scientific intuition, and of course common sense; "all enforced" by CAP, OSHA, and JCAHO to name a few governing agencies.  For some unknown reason as some will say ( I just call it stupidity), some folks will just not obey established safety rules.  The use of goggles to prevent the splash of liquids, to donning gloves when handling specimens, not re-capping needles, to tagging yourself with a radio-active badge when working with radio-nuclides,  and of course my personal favorite; using protective equipment when working with dangerous materials such as liquid nitrogen.  Some people will just flagrantly ignore danger in spite of great risk.  I just get a kick out of these celebrity chefs on TV who toss around liquid nitrogen like it was cheap wine.  Ever touch a block of dry ice?  Liquid nitrogen is much, much colder; 2.5 times colder.  Anyway, back to my point...which is [here we go with another Mayorgaism] "do yourself what you want your staff to do and respect you for, not what you want to do then exhaust yourself bullying and beating rules into your staff."  Human behavior is very complicated.  People do things for many reasons, bad reasons, evil reasons.  If your a manager employing dastardly tactics to coerce your staff you are probably a bully at heart.  Let's face it.  If you are spending all your time beating staff up - something is terribly wrong.  A small percentage of staff deserve to be fired for bad behavior.  If you have 20%-40% or as high as 75% of your staff on written improvement programs, write ups, or your using every available HR policy to "Guide Behavior" it is not your staff who are the idiots - IT IS YOU!

One hard, globally established, safety rule in laboratories is No open toed shoes - Ever.  I have had many the occurrence to escort non-lab staff or visitors out of the lab space because of open toed shoes.  When making appointments for  interviewing job applicants in the lab space I would instruct the applicant to not wear open toed shoes.  You just don;t do it.  Just think if you will, not even critical thinking...What comes to your mind if the top manager of the laboratory strolls through the lab on a busy Thursday morning wearing blue jeans and brown leather beach sandals. Definitely pushing the limits of casual Friday.  Many heads turned toward this spectacle, the  staff ridicule continued amongst for several days.  The idiot thought it was cool.  But was it?  You see when you are busy half your day writing people up for non-sense, your time is wasted on constructing fabrication to punish people out of negligence, your meetings with HR are solely to strategize how far you can go without causing a huge financial lawsuit; you just might be a bully.  These were some of the shenanigans going on that finally gave me a whiff of that horrid coffee and gave me the reason to exit this death camp; stage left.

Remember, following safety rules in the lab is not only smart but is a great sign of respect for your fellow employees.  Like it or not the perception is that if you don't care about the safety rules for yourself - you sure as hell don't care about anyone Else's safety either.  If you are a manger, well respected, followed, admired then you are leading by example including the safety aspect of the job as well.

Good day my friends. Be well.  Manage smartly.  Don't be an idiot.

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