Throwback Thursday: Present company excepted

One of IT's jobs in this city government is to be the first-level gatekeepers of ergonomic policy, reports a support manager pilot fish there.

"When we set up PCs, we use the ergonomic trays and mouse decks under the tables to do it per the policies," fish says.

"All my support staffers are trained to set up workstations, and to refer any requests for nonconforming setups to our risk management division's safety technician."

That's not mere buck-passing. The safety technician has the training and certification needed to OK and document nonconforming setups. That way, if there's a resulting injury, the city is on record as having counseled the employee.

So when a new user wants an IT tech to set up her PC without the ergonomic tray, the tech refers her to the safety technician for permission to change the setup.

User doesn't like that, so she calls a different tech and repeats the request. Second tech refers her to safety technician too.

User still doesn't like the answer. She goes back to the first tech and asks her to change the setup and rerun all the wires. Tech gives user a copy of the guidelines and tells her to contact the safety technician for a review.

User sends an email to her boss, an assistant city manager, and complains that she can't get this done, and she'd like to do it herself without all the hassles and doesn't understand why she can't do it on her own say-so. She tells her boss that she has tendinitis and wants the setup changed because she's in pain.

Assistant city manager emails fish, asking why he can't do as the new user asks.

"I ask her point-blank if she's suspending the city's policy," says fish. "The new user is already admitting to an injury and doing everything to avoid a review and documentation of the injury. If we're suspending the policy, I want it in writing and will retrain my staff to ignore the policies and guidelines.

"She backs off hurriedly and says she will speak to new user and the safety technician. The safety technician reviews and gives IT the go-ahead, and everything is moved per the review."

And finally the new user can get on with her job. Which is? "The risk-management claims and safety coordinator," fish sighs. "She's the person whose job is to document injuries."

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