Hazard Awareness, Leadership, Culture
Operatives and Managers at all levels working in any industry
Inspired by real events, this play illustrates a case where the breakdown of a safe system of work, along with the failure to act upon warnings of known risks, resulted in a serious incident.
Set in pharmaceutical research and development, the risks associated with hazardous materials in a laboratory environment are not properly evaluated, with alarms and monitoring proving ineffective. In the aftermath we examine the impact at all levels of the organisation, and assess accountabilty. Was the event unforeseeable? When it comes to duty of care what is an accident and what is neglect?
BARRISTER: Are you saying you don't consider safety part of your job?
THOMAS: No, but the company employs safety professionals to check our compliance with safety regulations.
BARRISTER: So your view is that nothing could have prevented it from happening?
THOMAS: I don't think anyone could have predicted it.
BARRISTER: If I may say so, that sounds somewhat complacent.
THOMAS: I don't agree. What I am saying is that some events are...unique.
BARRISTER: Your honour I submit item 7. (she holds up a piece of paper, a copy is given to Thomas) You have seen this?
THOMAS: You sent it to me.
BARRISTER: Would you tell the court what it is?
THOMAS: It's a safety alert from Head Office.
BARRISTER: Would you read it to the court?
THOMAS: (reads) 'Near miss report. Details: technician entered freezer room, immediately found it hard to breath and became weak dizzy and faint. Managed to leave the freezer to get air. Upon further investigation found boxes of dry ice, which were releasing vapour into the room'.
BARRISTER: Were you familiar with this near miss report before this case came to court?
THOMAS: No. I would have remembered.
BARRISTER: And yet this was distributed to all company sites.
THOMAS: Not mine. I...didn't see it.
BARRISTER: In the light of this, are you comfortable with your statement that the incident was entirely unpredictable?
Courtesy of AKT Productions Ltd.