Manufacturing Safety Speaker
If Workplace Safety is a Negotiation, Why Aren’t We Talking More?
As a manufacturing safety speaker, I stress that manufacturing safety is an ongoing negotiation. As a safety keynote speaker, I am passionately committed to doing everything I can to talk more on the importance of safety, encourage more safety conversations and to teach workers and supervisors to spotlight safety negotiation as their highest priority.
“Letters from CEOs”
As 2021 turned to 2022, I received two copies of articles from CEOs of companies where I have recently spoken on the topic of manufacturing safety (it is not unusual for me to receive safety articles and links). I was pleased to read that the workplace tragedies did not happen where I spoke, but they deeply saddened me all the same.
One article from a firm in the Midwest (November 2021) talked of an industrial accident where a worker fell from a scissor lift onto the concrete floor. The CEO wrote, in red marker across the top: “I NEVER want this to happen to us.” It shouldn’t happen to anyone. Tragically, the Bureau of Labor Statistics records that in any given year falls from cranes and scissor lifts account for nearly 50 deaths.
In the other correspondence I learned that in a New Jersey factory (in late November 2021), a worker was struck and killed by a tote containing 330 gallons of a perfume ingredient (that is more than a ton). In 2018 and 2019, more than 130,000 workers were injured by getting struck. 700 workers died from such injuries. In 2021 alone, 538 workers were killed (according to OSHA) as a result of getting struck.
As I read the articles, I shook my head, for my career as a safety speaker didn’t start as the result of college courses, but on the manufacturing floor and in steel mills. I’ve seen accidents “in-person.”
Injured co-workers are more than tragic, they represent a company-wide breakdown in people not looking out for one another. It is a failure in negotiating safety.
There is no “Good Accident”
Any accident that takes place in an organization is the result of co-workers failing to look out for one another. Whether the accident is a fall from scaffolding, massive burns, speeding on a forklift, a slip on an oil spill, a back injury from improperly lifting copy paper or frankly executives at a party allowing a co-worker to drive drunk, each accident affects entire families, not just insurance policies and disability claims.
There are no good accidents. Each accident represents employees not looking out for one another, not caring enough to tell a co-worker to wear safety equipment, or to slow down, or asking for a “spot,” or not saying something when a drunk or “high” co-worker gets into a vehicle.
Safety in a manufacturing environment must be thought of as a negotiation. We must look out for one another, and it must be a bottom-up as well as a top-down proposition. The apprentice can – and should – be empowered to tell the CEO that they are being unsafe.
At the end of the day, we want one another to get home safely. It is a value proposition, where we value and appreciate one another enough to care. We must talk more, negotiate more and appreciate one another more.
To contact Mike Hourigan, Manufacturing Safety Keynote and BreakOut Speaker, or as your virtual keynote speaker or even an in-person presentation, please call Mike today at (704) 875-3030 or fill out the form below.