Planking: Australia’s Latest Fad has Serious Consequences
Saying the new internet-fuelled phenomenon of planking is unusual would be an understatement.
Planking involves the simple act of lying flat and stiff, like a board or plank, in an unusual place while someone photographs you. The planking craze has spread across the Australian continent and is frequently publicized in mainstream media.
On the surface, planking doesn’t seem to pose an immediate danger, but the decision of where to plank could be the difference between life and death.
An Australian man was recorded as the first fatal planking victim this month when he fell seven stories to his death in Brisbane, while trying to plank on a balcony railing less than 10 centimeters wide. This drew attention from Australia’s Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, who warned plankers to put safety first.
Planking also reached the workplace last week when two employees of an Australian oil and gas producer were fired for attempting to plank on top of the plant’s smokestacks, nearly 200 feet above ground.
Planking in the workplace can be an HSE manager’s worst nightmare. It’s an act that could put the health and safety of employees and contractors at risk. Many companies are considering enacting specific guidelines and consequences for employers caught in the act.
Plankers should view these incidents as a warning: whether in or out of the workplace, planking may put lives and jobs in jeopardy.