The Guy on the Scaffold depends on You
As a risk management safety speaker, who has spent many years talking to risk management professionals, I am asking you to take a leap of faith. And, I suppose I ask this not as a safety speaker who speaks on risk management, but as a someone who began his work life in steel mills and manufacturing. In a real sense, my trip up the corporate ladder was sometimes on shaky ladders doing risky things for companies with management who didn’t care.
Go beyond the important coursework of risk assessment, risk design prevention and analyzing possible risk-based incident scenarios and spend a few minutes a day thinking about the guy on the shaky scaffold. That guy is depending on you to be a voice for all that is good about the risk management safety profession.
Beyond identifying hazards
The classic definition for the Occupational Safety and Health field does not include the term negotiation. We understand concepts such as mitigating risk, risk control, catastrophic injury and the identification of hazards, but as someone who personally saw and was told by co-workers of catastrophic injuries and fatalities on other shifts, I developed a sense of risk management negotiation that has served me well.
Early on, I developed a protective sense toward my co-workers and they did the same for me. It was an ongoing negotiation that recognized each one of us had to go home to families and to those who cared about us. We took our safety courses when asked, we wore protective equipment when it was available, but at the end of the day, far beyond the OSHA posters and the “safety awards,” our biggest source of motivation was enjoying our families, friends, baseball games and hobbies.
Unfortunately, we were often more serious about that safety negotiation than our supervisors and management above them. I hate to sound so blunt, but there was quite a gap between the guys in the field, and often those in upper management.
As a risk management safety speaker, I frequently read the accident reports and safety data. For the most part (even through the pandemic) the reports of fatalities and injuries were relatively flat. Reported incidents of slips or falls or burns, are not easily dismissed as minor. Most were preventable and all require medical attention. I also know that beyond the numbers, each casualty represents catastrophe to families, friends and ultimately, their organization.
Guys on the job
Not to be melodramatic, but risk management professionals have a duty to the people in the field as a fiduciary might have to her financial services clients or a surgeon to her patients. You have the ability to intercede on behalf of those who are largely overlooked by upper management. As a risk management professional, you have the important voice to speak for that guy on the shaky scaffold or the guy forced to wear substandard safety equipment or the poor soul forced to do difficult tasks who was hit with mandatory overtime for three days running.
Please be the difference. Please be part of the safety negotiation.
To contact Mike Hourigan, Risk Management Insurance Motivational Speaker, for an in-person or virtual presentation, please call (704) 875-3030 or fill out the form below.