Creating A Safer Workplace

Who wouldn’t like to work in a safer workplace?  No matter what your current position or employer, imagine feeling safer there than you do now.  Would that improve your approach to work?  Would that help you get out of bed in the morning (afternoon, evening, whenever your day starts) and look forward to work?  What if we are not the owner/boss/manager of the business?  What can we do to help create a safer workplace?  

I always love writing these blogs, especially when my day to day life intervenes.  I had the opening paragraph written and had a general idea of where this blog was going to go.  My plan was to finish writing it while sitting at the gate at the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport.  When I got to my gate, however, I encountered a real life situation that demonstrates what I was planning on writing about.  

Let me set the scene.  As I got to my gate there was a small commotion on the floor.  A woman was on the floor, with a small cut on her nose, in a somewhat altered state (I do not know the what or why and will not speculate).  A few general public people were on the floor talking with her in a respectful manner (it turned out one of them was a nurse).  After a few moments, several airport police officers arrived on the scene.  I was interested in watching how they interacted with the woman on the floor.  As the first officer approached, the woman on the floor said ‘oh no’ and started to swear at the police officer.  The one officer that was going to interact with her stopped where he was, crouched down, and started talking politely with the woman, treating her with dignity and respect.  The other officers stopped and stepped back.  This had a positive effect on the woman and she began talking with the officer.  

Shortly thereafter the paramedics arrived and I saw the same scene replayed.  As the professionals stepped back and talked about what was happening they continued to speak about the woman with dignity and respect.  I did not hear any snide or rude comments, speculations, or anything inappropriate.  

The professionals were able to safely take this woman out of the general public area to a place where they could work with her.  She was calm and started to tell them her story (which is not relevant to this blog).  

So, how does this example relate to the opening paragraph that I had already written?  All of the people attempting to help this woman treated her with dignity and respect, which in turn helped to keep her calm.  Her staying calm made everyone’s workplace safer.  Any of the people involved could have easily disrespected the woman, laughed at her, talked poorly about her, or attempted to take control of the situation.  I am certain this would have escalated her and she would have entered into her own crisis phase shortly.  

I want to take a moment and throw a POSITIVE SHOUT OUT to the general public and professionals at the MSP International Airport!  Their ability to handle conflict in the workplace allowed a situation that could have turned out very poorly into a positive experience.  

Everyone can learn from this example.  If we want to work in a safer workplace, how are we treating the people around us?  If we treat everyone with dignity and respect, which is central to The Mandt System and what we teach, it can go a long way to creating safer workplaces for everyone.

Dr. Dale Shannon – Director of Instructional Design

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