The Death Star doesn’t sound like the safest place to work — I mean, it has the word “death” in its name after all. Maybe, though, we can learn a few things about workplace safety from the shortcomings of the Empire’s workplace safety practices — or lack thereof.
1. Leadership Needs to Take Safety Seriously
It didn’t seem like management on the Death Star took the safety of their employees all that seriously. In fact, sometimes, it even looked like they were injuring them on purpose. While your boss might not be using the force to choke you or electrocute you, it is important that management makes safety a priority.
When your boss is going around actively strangling people who get on his bad side, it can be hard for anyone to feel comfortable at work. That attitude also tends to trickle down from management to other staff members. “Why should I care about safety if the boss doesn’t?” some stormtroopers might have thought.
2. Adequate Training Is Crucial
Workers need to know how to operate equipment and complete their work safely. To do so, they need training in using the machines necessary for their job and in basic safety procedures.
This doesn’t seem to be something the Empire emphasized. With proper training, perhaps there would have been fewer injuries involving the trash compactor. Maybe the stormtroopers would have had their intercoms so that could call for help if they fell in. The trash compactor wasn’t the only potentially dangerous piece of heavy machinery. There were also blast doors and a laser that could destroy planets.
While your workplace safety training might not be as rigorous as training to be a Jedi with Yoda, you should still take it seriously and dedicate some time to it.
3. Watch Out for Flaws in Your Equipment and Systems
Damaged equipment of flawed equipment designs can introduce serious hazards into the workplace. One flaw at the Death Star, in particular, comes to mind — the one that enabled the rebels to blow up the whole thing by shooting a proton torpedo into an exhaust port.
The flaws in your equipment might not have the potential to be quite as catastrophic as that, but they can still cause severe injury or damage to other equipment. It’s essential to maintain all machinery in a workplace, check for recalls from manufacturers and follow all safety guidelines for equipment operation.
4. Safety Hazards Can Occur Anywhere
Interestingly, some of the biggest hazards on the Death Star are also some of the most common dangers in workplaces here on earth. On the planet killer, you could get injured by falls, carpal tunnel, tripping hazards and electrocution. Two of those dangers — falls and electrocution — also make it onto OSHA’s list of the four most common causes of workplace deaths. In combination with the other two, being struck by objects and caught in between objects, these four causes make up 63.7 percent of all construction worker deaths.
All employers should take workplace safety seriously. While some of the hazards on the Death Star might be extreme, employers can still learn some useful lessons about what not to do from the Empire’s planet killer.