People with a “can do” attitude almost always get the job done – regardless of the obstacles. Unfortunately, many with that same “can do” attitude sometimes consider safety one of those obstacles.
This brings out the tragic, and actual, case of John, who no doubt “attacked” his work with a “can do” attitude. Most of us know someone like John, and maybe we know the person all too well. John was a Supervisor at Concrete Plant working during a rare Saturday evening shift.
The newspaper article, printed on the Sunday morning following John’s “accident,” stated that John was in charge of a crew of workers. It’s my guess that John had a real “can-do” attitude at work. On the Saturday evening of the accident, John was working on a machine that makes concrete blocks. The newspaper article didn’t note if hardhats were required in the area where John was working, but it’s my guess they were.
But John was not wearing a hardhat at the time of the accident. Maybe he thought his hardhat would get in the way. People with a “can do” attitude don’t want anything, even safety equipment, to get in their way.
The newspaper article also didn’t note if the machine that John was working on could be worked on while it was running. But it’s also my guess that this machine should have been shut down before being adjusted or repaired. John didn’t shut down the machine before he started to work on it. Maybe he thought shutting down the machine would slow him down. People with a “can do” attitude don’t want to be slowed down when there’s a job to be done.
It’s also my guess that the Company had safety rules regarding the repair and adjustment of the machine John was working on, likely calling for the machine to be “locked out.” “Can do” people also usually believe they know the equipment in their work area so well that a “lock out” isn’t necessary and it’s OK to take a safety short cut and fix the equipment “on the go.”
To finish this tragic story, John’s head was crushed in that machine and he died of massive head injuries on the job that fateful Saturday night.
What safety equipment are you not wearing?
What safety procedures slow you down?
What machines are you taking a “shortcut” with?
If your “can do” attitude doesn’t have safety first on your list of things to do, then “accidents” will likely and unfortunately be one of the results you achieve.
Six Fundamental Elements of a Good Safety Attitude
• Awareness: Pay attention. Stay alert to the possible hazards in your work environment so that you can take steps to correct or guard against them.
• Focus: Concentrate on the task(s) at hand. Distractions, boredom or fatigue can lead to accidents and other safety hazards.
• Strength: Have the strength to do the right thing even when it’s easier not to. Follow safety procedures and post orders completely, every time.
• Patience: Take the time to do things correctly every time – like always buckling your seat belt, even on quick trips.
There are no shortcuts to safety.
• Responsibility: Take responsibility for a safe work environment to benefit yourself and others.
• Thought: Stop to think before you act.
Accidents are not always the result of bad luck. They occur when someone decides – consciously or not – to take a chance.
Be smart and avoid taking unnecessary risks.
“Thought is the sculptor who can create the person you want to be.”
-Henry David Thoreau