Have you said to yourself, “It’s no big deal. I’ve done it a million times.” Have you skipped steps, not placed a chock block, not worn safety glasses or a hardhat? Have you gotten off a machine the wrong way, or not secured a brace, thinking the whole time, “It’s no big deal. I’ve done it this way before.”
Even though I knew the risks, and had even heard horror stories, I chose to maneuver the tractor without addressing the hydraulics, because the very night before I had done the same thing!
Monday night, almost 24 hours before my accident, the tractor arm had malfunctioned as well. I knew the hydraulics were low, but rather than take the time to fix the problem, I chose to strategize around it.
Do you know how long it would have taken me to add hydraulic fluid? Only minutes! Yet, because I was in a hurry . . . I chose to ignore it. In fact, because I had rigged a solution the night before, my experience told me that it would work again. My past experience was my worst enemy.
Here was my thinking . . . I could hit the hydraulics in gear, and the bale would raise up, like it did the night before. Then I’d throw the tractor in reverse and the bale of hay would naturally fall forward to the ground. I could simply drag it over to the bull pen. I’d be home quickly, just as I promised Shondell I would be.
Some of you may be thinking, “That’s a pretty stupid mentality.” I agree. Yet, how many of you, at your workplace, during your day, with all of your responsibilities, have had a similar mentality?
The second time I chose to do this, the outcome was different. The hydraulics kicked in and the bale of hay fell backwards, over the tractor arm, and landed on top of me. It was my past experience that turned out to be my demise.
The success that I’d had the night before was only luck, and my luck had run out. How long will you trust luck in your life? How long will you gamble by skipping pre-ops or safety steps that seem unnecessary or that seem to slow you down?
Trust me, luck always runs out. Safety is worth the time and effort every single time. Err on the side of safety, rather than gambling on speed. It could save your life. Or at least save your life as you know it today.