Do you know where your employees are at all times?
Safety is a priority at any workplace. Most jurisdictions have “Right to know” laws. In many places, the law even reaches into employees’ personal lives, requiring interventions and information sharing in cases of domestic violence.
Generally though, you don’t need to keep tabs on your staff 24/7. One exception is in Canada’s far north, deep in polar bear country, where safety takes on a whole new dimension.
The world’s largest terrestrial carnivore can be over 5 feet tall, 10 feet long, and weigh more than a ton. Fierce maternal instincts, limited access to food, and loss of habitat make any encounter with a polar bear extremely dangerous.
For the workers and residents of the north, simply taking out the trash is a risky process.
Hungry polar bears are known to venture into towns and industrial developments in search of food. For them, scavenged garbage is both delicious and nutritious. The walking meat that carries it can be rather appealing, too.
Biologists, soil researchers, and oil workers throughout the north are warned not to go outside alone. Like diplomats and reporters in war zones, they should always have an armed escort. They’re commonly trained in the use of firearms.
In polar bear country, training and tracking employee skills (shameless plug: TribeHR is a great way to track employee skills) aren’t just about obeying laws and supporting organizational development. They’re a life-and-death necessity.
Offices aren’t perfect.
Neither is working outdoors, in isolation, in extreme weather, or in swarms of mosquitoes. Management needs to be aware of all health and safety threats to their human resources. Some places, though, have much more severe risks than others.
So next time someone disappears to the golf course, or takes off early at the end of the day, take a step back for perspective. Instead of stressing about why they left or what should be done, just be glad you don’t have to worry about whether or not they got eaten by a bear.