The Chilean Cau Cau Bridge, connecting the city Valdivia with the island Isla Tejas, has been drawing some media attention to Chile during the last week. The reason for this is that at least one traffic deck was built upside down. The bridge was supposed to open in January 2014 but is now postponed for an indefinite amount of time. This 30 million dollar bridge, actually the first drawbridge in Chile, therefore became a real nightmare for both MOP (public infrastructure authority) and the people involved in the realization of the project. All of this despite MOP´s efforts to tone the incident down as a ´little´ mistake. Well, if it would be a Lego bridge this could be a little mistake but now a whole country´s reputation got some damage and Chilean companies might not get to build many bridges abroad for some time despite the fact that the company building the bridge actually is a Spanish company.
Sometimes it is easy to get a bit too comfortable leading to the risk that some details might be missed. Many companies we work with use a rotation system when performing safety rounds and checks to see things with fresh eyes. Multinational companies use, for some years now, global internal auditors that travel the world to visit different production sites in order to prevent incidents and to bring global standards and examples of best praxis everywhere.
Obviously things can go wrong anyway and sometimes they do go wrong despite the best efforts and intentions of everyone involved. However, when things are taken for granted the risk for making mistakes or to suffer an incident increase. Some cross-functional work or external revisions could save time, money and reputation.