CBS recently aired a new show, “Undercover Boss,” just after the Super Bowl. The first episode featured Waste Management President Larry O’Donnell. At the very beginning, Mr. O’Donnell shared a story about how his daughter was permanently injured from a medical error when she was an infant and that event drove home the importance of safety to him. “As a result of what happened to her, I never want to work at a company that I’m responsible for, where people don’t know how to follow the proper procedures.” Many people who have a true dedication to safety have had moments in their life that really hit the safety mark and opened their eyes to the importance of safety. Let’s call these “aha” moments.
My personal journey to safety has been long, bumpy, and slightly painful. I never intended to get into safety. From a young age I worked in industries that lent themselves to injury, and as you can see from my stories in the comment section below, I have had some very close calls. Each of these events resulted in an important safety lesson. People will argue that if we find ourselves in jobs that are unsafe, we should quit. However for one reason or another many of us may not have that option. Even when jobs were plentiful, finding a new job was not always easy. Most of us suck it up and do our job and hope and pray that everything will go well. Usually it does, and even for those of us in safety, we trip up from time to time.
I have experienced enough “aha” moments in my life that I want to do my best to make sure others don’t have to experience them. I hope you don’t wait for an “aha” moment at your company to get serious about safety because by then, it may be too late. The “aha” moment your employees experience may not be so gentle and could end with serious consequences. Let my experiences be lessons for all of us. Get focused and start mitigating all those situations that could result in providing the wrong lesson in your company.
Below are a few of my “aha” moments. Please share your “aha” moments as well. Perhaps we can all learn from each other.Share this article: