Why “Let’s Try Harder” Is a Bad Strategy for Safety

business_ethics_highlights_2The story below is a good point of departure for a discussion of the notion of fixing problems by “trying harder.” Lots of times, when things go badly, we promise to “try harder next time.” When we make mistakes, we promise to “be more careful.” When it comes to customer safety (or workplace safety) trying harder is a lousy strategy. Should the workers at this McDonalds branch “try harder” to remember to switch the lines on the latte machine after cleaning? No—procedures need to be put in place to make it impossible to make this mistake again.

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LINK: Pregnant mom served cleaning solution instead of latte at southern Alberta McDonald’s (by Lara Fominoff for CBC News)

“McDonald’s is renowned for its food safety protocols and I am sorry that this happened in my restaurant here in Lethbridge,” [the franchise owner] wrote.

“What happened is that the machine was being cleaned as it is every morning. Unfortunately, the milk supply line was connected to the cleaning solution while this guest’s drink was made.”

He said a health inspector had visited the restaurant and was not investigating further.

“We have taken immediate action to review the proper cleaning procedures with the team and have put additional signage up as an added reminder.”…

What do you think?


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