Comment – What would you do…?

Posting prank video online jeopardises company reputation.

I switched on my computer this morning to find that several people had sent me links to the same video. At the same time, my social media feeds showed that the short film (below) was doing the rounds online too.

The video is short – 12 seconds at most – so before I move on you might like to take a look at it as that will put my comments into some context.

So, assuming you have now watched the film, you – like me – will probably be wondering just what possesses someone to dump an excavator bucket-load of material onto a co-worker. You might also be wondering what possesses someone to film the incident and then post it online. And, if you run a demolition company, you may be asking what you would do if the film clip featured your company.

Banter, wind-ups and pranks have been a part of site life for as long as man has worked on site. But while I like a laugh as much as the next man or woman, this film is problematic for a number of reasons.

First and foremost, the good folks at the Health and Safety Executive will likely perceive this film as a “near miss” and an investigation may well follow. That, I am sure, is an investigation the contractor involved could well do without.

Then, of course, is the potential tarnishing of the company’s reputation. I have now seen the same film on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn; and if I looked hard enough, I could probably find it on YouTube too. That means that hundreds, thousands and possibly even millions of people will see a reputable contractor’s name and reputation being dragged through the mud for the amusement of an excavator operator and his friend with a mobile phone camera.

This all raises more questions than I can cover here. But the ones that fascinate and intrigue me are: Has the arrival of social media and the near-universal adoption of smart phones encouraged this kind of stupid and irresponsible behaviour? Do we now live in an age in which responsible use of mobile phone cameras and posting on social media requires specific training and guidance? And what are the employers’ rights if a video like this is posted online? Does this warrant a dismissal for the excavator operator or for the man with the camera?

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