1915: IMPROVING EMPLOYEE IN-PLANT BEHAVIOR
From Safety Engineering, Volume 30, Number 1, July 1915, page 83.
Viewing with alarm the steady increase in its shops and on the street of the practice popularly known as “goosing” and believing that, unchecked, these acts would soon become a cause of an increased number of injuries, especially in the factory, the Avery Company, Peoria, Ill., decided to make a determined stand against goosing practices. To that end it issued to all departments of the Avery factory the letter below:
AVERY COMPANY BULLETIN ON “GOOSING”
No. 950 June 1, 1915
To All Departments: Of all fool acts, about the most foolish, senseless, asinine act is that commonly known as “goosing.”
The unfortunate victim is never safe from attacks, without the least regard for time or place, by those who call themselves his friends. It is a pity that the victim doesn’t smash his enemy upon the nose, but more the pity, the victim is usually a good sport who takes the joke (?) as he thinks a good sport should.
The condition of being “goosy” is easily acquired by anyone who is subjected to those attacks by his companions. It grows gradually, and insidiously, the victim dreading to have his companions approach him from the rear until finally he loses absolutely all control of himself when “goosed.” This act is senseless enough when in a perfectly safe place, but it certainly has no place in a factory where the victim is in danger of becoming injured, perhaps killed.
One jump into a moving machine, a live switch, a pile of stock, or off a platform, or into a hole, may cripple the victim for life, if not kill him. Should such an accident occur in the Avery factory, the Avery Company would probably be called upon to pay the cost. Certainly the Avery Company is called upon to afford its employee all the protection possible. We feel it our duty to do so, and have decide to take a determined stand against “goosing.”
EFFECTIVE AT ONCE.
The Penalty of Goosing Another Workman Is Immediate Discharge.
We believe that you will all agree with us that the penalty is just one and that “forewarned is forewarned.” Please post this letter where all can read.
The Avery Company expected that this letter would be taken in a spirit of levity by the workmen, but much to its gratification the bulletin was well received. Practically all of the foremen and many of the workmen stated in unmistakable terms their approval of the letter and concurred in the sentiment expressed. Several foremen remarked that it was the most effective bulletin that the safety department had posted.
The practice had grown to such an extent that workmen who operated dangerous machines never felt secure from the attacks of the would be practical joker who took delight in taking advantage of their weakness. Many workmen who were susceptible would throw whatever they had in their hands in an entirely irresponsible manner when attacked. In fact, the majority of those who are susceptible become irresponsible for the moment.
The workman who is rolling sheet iron with his fingers close to the rolls or a man operating square shears, in fact any man who is doing any one of a great number of operations in a factory, is a poor subject for a joke of any kind.
The moral effect of the Avery letter has extended beyond the shop, even to the extent that where, as before, the practice was carried into the street cars among the men returning from their work, the men now act in a much more gentlemanly manner than they did prior to the posting of the letter.
Believing that its success in stopping “goosing” may prove of value to other employers and persons interested in the safety movement, the Avery Company gives to Safety Engineering the benefit of this experience. Elimination of unsafe practices is as essential as proper safeguarding of unsafe machines.