When Safety Goes To Extra Time
I have to admit I was quite impressed when Ben Foster revealed he used his iPod to learn about penalty-taking tactics. To those living in another planet and didn’t know what happened last couple of weekends Manchester United beat Tottenham Hotspurs in the League Cup Final after their game ended scoreless even after extra time. During the penalty Foster brilliantly saved Jamie O’Hara’s kick which helped The Devils to lift the cup, and he later admitted he got some tips by watching recorded Spurs’ penalties from previous games. From his Apple iPod.
I mean, here is a goalkeeper who makes use of technology to beef up his preparation to the game. And also, the fact that he went to such extent in preparing for the penalty shoot-outs. Some teams don’t even practise penalties!
Yes we want to do it right the first time and kill off the game before stoppage time. But sometimes things happen and we have to take it to the extra time or even the dreaded penalty kicks. We prepare our best for the first 90 minutes but do we do the same for the uninvited extra time?
Preparing for our job safety is a bit like preparing for an important football game. Doing it right the first time means to beat the opponents in standard game time. Doing it right the first time means to do the job safely without hurting anyone or releasing any hazardous materials. This is where PREVENTION takes place. Our HAZOP, JSA, LOTO and PTW all come with the single intention in mind – to prevent accidents.
But sometimes things go wrong, for whatever reason. We are forced to face the unwanted. The extra time. The MITIGATION. And believe me, regardless of how much we hate to be there, those who prepare for that situation will have the best chance make it through alive. Sometimes quite literally.
Accidents can happen. Containments leak, procedures fail, people misjudge… HEMP teaches us when barriers fail hazards can get released. And when this happens we just have to face it. We don’t want it to happen, we pray to God it doesn’t happen. But when it DOES happen, how we wish we were a little more prepared for it.
I’m sure football teams do some kind of preparation to extra-time situations: endurance training, substitution plan, shootout practices. How about us, operators of a hazardous installation? Are our emergency facilities in good order? Do we have spares and backups for critical equipment? Do we do emergency drills as planned?
At this point my little Boy Scout motto comes to mind: BE PREPARED.