When Things Don’t Quite Go To Plan

Uncategorized Jul 23, 2020

As hard as we all work to prevent harm; there are occasions that things don’t quite go to plan.

In over 20 years as a consultant there have been times my role has been to support others when things have gone wrong. While for one client I used to monitor every accident they reported; I am thankful that the time’s I have supported clients with serious life changing incidents or worse have actually been very few.

Something recently has reminded my of those times and I wont’t lie, it can be a hard job to do.

While the support given is appreciated and there is a real feeling of satisfaction for helping people, you cannot ignore the sadness and difficulties that people are facing.

Lessons learned

Whether it is the teams I support or my own actions; there are lessons to learn.

  • Keep talking

The worst thing you can do is to pretend it hasn’t happened. While you need to remember there are investigations to complete and you don’t want gossip to fly. You also shouldn’t shut off from talking. Sometimes events and reflection can hit at the strangest time and the impact can be like a ripple on water. An incident will affect the injured person, their family, their colleagues, their managers, the senior team and anyone else who offers support. 

  • It’s not about blame

There is nothing to be gained from thinking about blame or if someone is going to get told off for doing something wrong. While separately there could be disciplinary procedures an investigation is about preventing something happening again and anyone else getting hurt.

  • You might not find out what happened

It can be really difficult if no matter how hard you try, you cannot find all of the causes. You might not to be able to speak to everyone, there might be memory loss and events could just not add up. All you can do is do your best to piece events together and make changes relating to all you discover.

  • And finally

Something else I have learned too is to look beyond the job they were doing. An investigation will identify changes in procedures or documents directly related to the incident. It is always good to look wider. Whatever you have investigated and identified your perspective has changed. If you look at other procedures and documents you will find other updates that mean you can do more elsewhere too.

It is important to reflect that thankfully it is rare that things don’t go to plan. If this has made you think and you would like to discuss any of the thoughts raised or are looking for some support I would love to hear from you. Get in touch – send a message or book a call.

Hundred Acre – Everyone’s Safe Place


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