Corporate culture must include work site safety
Safety is something we all know we should be thinking about every day, but how many of us really do? This month, National Safety Month, we’re making an extended effort to acknowledge work site safety.
At Mead & Hunt, safety is at the core of our culture, and we strive to make safety second nature in our daily routine. We use the highest degree of safety protocols to provide continuous safety training for our team. We look to the latest technology in safety equipment, and we insist that everyone on our team observe the highest level of safety awareness.
What’s more, we provide safety training and support to our clients. We offer assistance with putting together standard operating procedures which include safety procedures and task job safety analysis. We also provide training workshops on safety best practices.
Early in my career as a municipal water-wastewater operator, I thought that if I did the risky task really fast before anything could go wrong, it would be safe. I’d hold my breath so I wouldn’t get overwhelmed by fumes and close my eyes to avoid getting anything in them. If I had all my fingers at the end of the job, then surely it was a “job well done”.
After surviving by pure luck during my early years, I now pay keen attention. My change from speed and wishful thinking happened after I saw a job site safety poster that really put things into perspective. It didn’t have pictures or flashy lettering. It just had one key thought:
You can walk with a wooden leg. You can clap with a wooden hand. But, you can’t see with a wooden eye. Please wear your safety glasses.
I was married and had two little boys. I had more at stake, was a bit older and wiser and wasn’t willing to take risks that I might have taken in my naïve youth. I had to make it home safe.
Systems, processes, procedures and safety equipment are not always self-evident, so you must learn how and when to follow best practices. I’d rather take extra time to save my limbs or eyesight than take the time to learn how to live without them. This mindset starts at the top but also must be a staple in the company’s culture to be successful.
My biggest pet peeve is complainers:
- Why do we have to have training?
- Why do we waste time with JSAs, safety tailgate meetings or pre-task analysis?
- I don’t have time for these safety things, I just want to get the job done.
- Safety is expensive and cuts into our profit.
- Our safety culture can’t be part of the problem.
My response is simple. If all the training, time and money we invest to improve safety allows one person to go home safely who might not otherwise have done so, isn’t it worth it? Why not put safety first?
We will never be able to identify every possible safety issue. But the more we talk and think about safety, the safer we become.
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