An Honest Conversation with a First Responder
- As a safety speaker, who speaks on safety nationwide, I often regret how the best source of safety data, U.S. Department of Labor, includes so many tragic accidents under the heading of “Slips, Trips and Falls.” The banner almost sounds like a song, a joke or the name of a jazz trio!
Whatever “Slips, Trips and Falls” may sound like to you, the category resulted in 15-percent of all accidental deaths last year, 25-percent of all reported injuries and 95-million lost work days. A slip in the workplace may come about in a variety of ways: wet or greasy floors; polished or wet floors; damaged stairs with no guard rails; electrical wires; ice or snow and even clutter.
A word of caution. To make it onto the U.S. Department of Labor database requires serious reporting. Organizations must report those somber incidents to Workers Compensation and other insurance outlets. They are always serious. To take it from the theoretical to the real-life, I had a chance conversation with an experienced, big city paramedic about memorable “Slips, Trips and Falls” he had encountered. I don’t wish to cause any bad dreams, but I feel it is worth discussion.
Here are but five examples he gave, their causes and the consequences:
1. A construction worker who fell onto a beam, and in doing so, broke his back. It resulted in permanent paralysis from the waist down.
2. A father and child who fell from boats during a terrible storm. Both are still lost at sea.
3. A worker who climbed a rickety ladder, lost balance, and blew out both ankles.
4. A driver who lost control of his pickup on a rain-slicked road, crashed into a large gravel pile and became a quadriplegic.
5. An office worker “clowning around” while crossing a highly polished floor who wound up in the emergency room with a serious injury.
In each of the examples I posed, every family member (not just the victims were affected). The father and child who fell into the water were not wearing life jackets and it was winter; the construction worker lacked a proper safety harness; the person on the rickety ladder had no spotter and lousy equipment; the driver of the vehicle on the rain slicked road was not wearing a seat belt and finally, the office worker (admittedly drunk from a Christmas party), slid on some grease and tore up her knees.
Fully understanding the tragedies
As a motivational safety keynote speaker who indeed, started his work career in factories, I know these “Slips, Trips and Falls” represent real human tragedies. They are not isolated.
Right now, right this minute wherever you are, some family or friends; bosses and co-workers have been informed that something tragic has happened to a person they care about.
No one who suffers these types of accidents or their loved ones are ever quite the same. While safety officers and lecturers can issue all sorts of warnings, unless people look out for one another and demand that their friends, co-workers and loved ones be careful, tragedy will occur. And tragedy on top of tragedy: every one of the examples I gave could have been prevented.
There are no jokes here. Every one of these incidents could have been prevented.
To contact Mike Hourigan, Safety Motivational Speaker, please call Mike today at (704) 875-3030 or fill out the form below.