Chapter 11Be stoic

I got a phone call a while back from Jack, a big, burly ox of a man. He runs a timber mill in regional Victoria. ‘I think I just killed someone,’ he said, his voice faltering. ‘I was driving a forklift and one of my guys stepped in front of me … ’

Another man I know had his hand amputated when the safety shield on the paper trimming machine malfunctioned.

A client who owns a security firm had to rush one of his guards to Emergency after the guard was shot in the back by an armed robber.

These are terrible situations for everyone involved. The injured worker, their family, the company owner and the entire organisation. Everyone is impacted.

When you work in industrial settings like these, as many of my clients do, it's inevitable that at some stage something will go wrong. After the police and ambulance, I am often the first person my clients call because they know that somewhere, somehow a process wasn't followed and they need serious help. Workplace manslaughter is a crime punishable by up to 25 years in jail. It's serious stuff.

When these scenarios occur, it's natural for the owner to panic. People are upset, there's blood, the sirens are wailing. It's chaotic. What I am about to say will sound incredibly hard-hearted and mercenary, but if you are the leader of an organisation and you experience a crisis like this, the best strategy for you, your team and the injured person is to stay calm, keep your head and control your emotions.

Yes, adrenaline will ...

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