Why is labor protection not working and how Facebook helped us understand this

2 August 2017

Like many people, I have a personal Facebook page. Like everyone – I have friends there. About 1000 people. Like everyone – friends are divided into friends and “friends.” In a percentage ratio of about 95 to 5. And I constantly see in the tape not only their posts, thoughts and photos, but also their likes. People like everything from textbook cats and cubs to political parties, horoscopes and tests, guess who you are from the movie Office Romance.

People with megabytes generate likes, preferences and e-emotions. The most important thing in this process is not to please the owner of the cat or the parent of the cub, not to know what sort of sausage you are according to the test, or to help promote the next party’s political party. The most important thing is how people simultaneously consciously and instinctively form their own network image by adding to it what they would like to see in themselves and filtering out what they would like to refuse.

A year ago, we created our company page “ Racio Occupational Safety Center. ” on Facebook. The goal was absolutely pragmatic – to create another channel for communication with customers. 21st century, now it’s easier for a person to write a message in the FB than to call. We decided to give it a try. After – I asked my 1000+ friends to like this page. I understood that labor protection is not cats at all, but … For a week, the page collected 19 likes. 1.9% of users found this interesting.

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I have been working on occupational safety and industrial safety issues for almost 10 years. During this time I could observe how it works from different angles – as a leader, as a full-time labor protection engineer, as an outsourcing specialist, as an auditor. Like everything in this area, I started with regular briefings, forcing employees to learn instructions, take exams, etc. But experience has shown that the notorious “labor protection” only works while there is a “guard” in the field of view of personnel. The term “labor protection” itself implies the presence of a third party, which is behind you at the moment when someone is working and is closely guarding this process. It is worth turning away and people are not just not observing the rules, but on the contrary, they are making some efforts to disregard them, go against the rules.

This plunged me into depression. Nobody needs to know that the business you are doing is at least sad. I understood that security, as such, cannot be nonsense. This is one of the basic human needs, along with sleep, food or friendship. And if everything is fine with me, everything is ok with security, too, it means that something was wrong in the human-rule-human interaction system itself. It was getting dark, I was thinking a lot about the causes and effects, and here is what conclusion I came to:

For many years we lived in a state and political system where human freedom (also one of the basic needs) could be realized only in the form of resistance to this very system. In this case, large resistance could entail major consequences – expulsion from the party, imprisonment or even execution. Petty resistance was not particularly punished, since everyone resisted in their own way – from the janitor to the head of the district committee. Since then, we walk on the lawns, smoke in the wrong places and do not fasten ourselves in the car. We are proud of this, this is our personal battle at Thermopylae. That party, that country and that system have long been gone. But an old habit is ineradicable. How much more time should pass, generations, parties and the government to change before this process stops in us and from free-loving Khazars we turn into law-abiding Europeans? Unknown.

In the course of these thoughts, I came to one interesting conclusion. Resistance in our person is included only when the attributes of the notorious system appear in his field of vision – prohibiting signs, restrictions, rules, any protocol forms of communication.

– Weapons, drugs?
– Let’s get some tea.

Instructions on labor protection in the classical sense are the quintessence of Rules and Systems. They have rules, there is a protocol, there are prohibitions and signs. A normal person will resist this maximum, at least just be bored and wait for him to be released from the Soviet “yesterday” cabinet of labor protection, into the European “now” of his open space.

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Having understood this, I conducted an experiment: 1) excluded instructions from the instructional procedure as such, 2) came up with a training compiled in everyday language and based on examples and practice 3) shifted the focus from the general “everyone needs to follow safety rules” to “you can certainly not follow this rule, but then it will be like that”. From the point of view of the classical “labor protection”, a rather seditious lecture was published. It’s scary to admit, but during the briefings I sometimes even use words such as “garbage” and “crap”. The only things that could not be avoided were the magazines, which still have to collect signatures after the lecture. But to collect signatures from smiling people who sincerely thank you for useful and interesting information and “paint” the “spent” briefing are two big differences.

After changing the approach and shifting focus from the protocol of the meeting to a friendly chat about fires and fire extinguishers, each of our lectures (okay – 9 out of 10) ends with applause. Inspired by such a feedback after the trainings, I began to hand out business cards with the address of our Facebook page and asking if you liked our lesson, like it.

In a year, we instructed about 1000 people and collected about 10 likes. 1% of users found this interesting. All the same, we are still terribly far from the European mentality.

But seriously, the most important like and emoji for us are people’s faces who during the hour of the lecture are looking at us, not smartphones. This is another indicator of the usefulness of our business. Perhaps the most important today.


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