The Perils of ‘When the Cat’s Away’: A Lesson in Leadership and Safety

a suspended bobcat used to break a concrete floor

The old adage, “When the cat’s away, the mice will play,” is often used lightheartedly to describe harmless fun in the absence of authority. However, in the context of workplace safety, this phrase takes on a more serious, cautionary tone. It reflects a deeper issue in organizational culture, particularly around leadership, supervision, and adherence to safety protocols.

A recent video from a demolition site vividly illustrates this problem. In the absence of a site manager or safety supervisor, the crew, under the supervisor’s approval, deviates from the demolition plan. They employ a dangerous and unorthodox method: using a crane to lift a bobcat, fitted with a hydraulic breaker, onto a concrete roof. This reckless approach, relying on slings to break the concrete slab, is a glaring departure from standard safety practices and protocols.

This scenario exemplifies the “when the cat’s away, the mice will play” mindset in its most negative form. The lack of supervision and the failure to follow the demolition plan underscore a deeply flawed leadership and safety culture within the organization. Such behavior not only endangers the workers involved but also sets a precedent for negligence and irresponsibility.

This incident raises crucial questions about workplace culture, especially regarding safety and leadership. What happens when those in charge are not present? How deep does the commitment to safety and protocol run within an organization? The answers to these questions are vital, as they determine the safety and well-being of every employee.

At the Safetyman Academy, we understand the importance of cultivating a strong safety culture that extends beyond the mere presence of supervisors or managers. Our approach is rooted in the belief that safety education and awareness should be integral to every organization’s ethos, not just a set of rules to be followed in the presence of authority.

With our extensive range of 130 online CPD-certified training courses, we are committed to turning potential safety pitfalls into moments of empowerment and learning. We recognize that effective safety training transcends mere compliance; it fosters a mindset where safety is a shared responsibility, ingrained in every aspect of work.

Our mission is not limited by geographical or linguistic boundaries. Offering courses in 60 languages, we aim to bridge cultural and linguistic divides, ensuring accessible, comprehensive safety education for all. This inclusive approach is crucial in building a global culture of safety and responsibility.

We invite individuals and organizations to explore the possibilities with Safetyman Academy. Whether you are looking to expand your personal safety knowledge or enhance your team’s awareness and preparedness, we offer tailored solutions to meet your needs.

The message is clear: safety is not just the responsibility of supervisors or managers; it is a collective commitment that should be ingrained in every member of an organization. Let’s move beyond the “when the cat’s away, the mice will play” mentality and build a culture where safety and responsibility are paramount, regardless of who is watching.

Discover more at and join us in building a safer world, one course at a time.

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