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Think about the responsibilities of Health and Safety Manager/Technician/Team in an ergonomics process. Its typically answering the call of the people on the shop floor about an issue or following up during an injury investigation. Classic “Whack-a-Mole-Management”!

Douglas Ross writes in a recent blog post “Whack-a-mole is a popular carnival game in which you try to hit moles that pop up randomly on a board using a rubber mallet. Every time you hit a mole, you get a point. The objective is to get enough points to qualify for a prize. Its fun and people experience a high as pent-up energy is released by whacking the moles. The challenge of not knowing where the next mole is coming from adds to the excitement. Business whack-a-mole management is based on the same principles. The challenges are the ‘moles’. As each challenge presents itself to managers, they hit it hard and fast with the hammer of position and conventional wisdom. Slam! They get one. Slam! They get another one. It requires lightning-quick decision making in a fast moving game called ‘survival of the fittest’. It’s exhausting, but it’s also fun. Each night the players go home, knowing their job remains intact because they have successfully ‘whacked’ enough organizational problems to stay for another day.”

Mr. Ross calls it excitement and H&S people may call it job security, but the financial people call it cost. Does it have to be this way, does H&S have to continually fight these fires (ok, moles), new product after new product? If the Health and Safety managers funneled these issues back to engineering and were involved in best practice sharing upstream, companies (YOUR Company) would begin to eliminate the engineering issues that result in ergonomic injuries.

It’s up to you. Continue to whack the moles or start whacking your engineers and get involved early so they stop creating work environments that cause undo job stress and increased cost!