One of Hans Christian Anderson’s most popular tales is The Emperor’s New Clothes. For those unfamiliar with the story an English translation is available.
But in summary, an emperor hires two swindlers to make him the finest clothes. The swindlers pretend to create a gown from the best material and tell their client that it happens to be invisible to fools. The emperor parades through the town in his new outfit an a young child yells out that the emperor is, in fact, naked. The townsfolk see through the swindle.
It is the job of OHS professionals and advisors to be the ones to point out the obvious to business or to burst the preconceptions that are hampering safety improvements. Interestingly, there are no repercussions for the child in the tale and, once shown the fallacy of his beliefs, the emperor continues with the parade.
It is also worth bearing the many lessons of the Emperor’s New Clothes in relation to the purchase of personal protective equipment, project briefs, verification of qualifications and the sycophancy of colleagues.
It is helpful to think that once back at the palace, he revoked the contract with the swindling tailors but that is outside the original tale.