By Nasrin Azari, President & CEO, Mobile Reach
Often, the worst thing about a tragedy is how easily it could have been prevented. Recently, 17 people drowned when a duck boat capsized in rough waters in Missouri. More than 17 life jackets were hanging inside the boat, unused. A year prior to the accident, an inspector noted a flaw in the boat’s design that could cause its engines and pumps to fail in rough water. Would the victims have survived if they had been wearing life jackets? Would the boat have stayed afloat had its design flaw been investigated and addressed? We can’t know for certain, but the chances for both would have been improved had safety been top-of-mind for the company and the boat captain.
Field service organizations are beholden to a wide variety of safety metrics that don’t often get the spotlight in marketplace conversations. They are often over-shadowed by metrics related to productivity or quality.
The single most important priority of field service directors is the safety of field technicians. This is especially true for techs who work in harsh environments, where unexpected weather events can be disastrous; where a single misstep or forgotten precaution can turn a routine task into a dangerous operation.
Performing job safety assessments (JSAs) prior to beginning work is a crucial part of the field technician’s daily schedule. JSAs may become routine; they may even seem superfluous to a technician who wants to quickly dig into the interesting part of his or her job, especially if the JSA takes more time to complete than the actual work itself. Field technicians may use short-cuts, skip over steps, or assume that a piece of equipment is operating correctly based on a cursory review instead of taking hard measurements. No field service director wants an accident to occur on their watch or anyone else’s. Their worst nightmare involves injury or death of one of their workers.