Mike Hourigan Safety Keynote Speaker
“I’ve got your back, even if you don’t like it!”
Data recorded by the Bureau of Labor Statistics for 2017 showed the number of claims for serious back injuries to be 148,780. In addition, there were 311,330 claims for muscle tears and strains injuries. In studies of workplace-related injuries, overexertion from improper lifting and moving of objects accounts for more than 25% of all workplace injuries. In 2017, the National Safety Council valued the total cost of all workplace related injuries to be $161 billion. If we take a conservative approach at 25%, we could estimate that overexertion costs American businesses at least $40 billion a year. To say the problem of overexertion is huge would be an understatement.
Safety is not about numbers, but people
As a keynote speaker on safety and at one time, a factory worker myself, I know it is easy to get lost in the numbers but in terms of safety; numbers don’t fully explain what is happening on our factory floors, oil rigs, agricultural industries, construction, transportation and numerous warehouses across the country.
In every list compiled on workplace safety claims, the top reasons for injuries are overexertion, “overconfidence,” taking short-cuts, taking on too much weight, rushing the process, slips, trips and falls.
Regarding overexertion, the National Safety Council strongly advises that workers should avoid heavy loads, avoid twisting while moving a load, and most important get help with heavy loads. That kind of advice is all well and good after the fact, but it doesn’t explain why the injuries are happening in the first place.
In speaking to numerous groups in safety break-out sessions, I stress that virtually all workplace related injuries can be channeled down to two problems: a lack of teamwork and a lack of leadership.
Who has your back?
In companies where safety is stressed, workers appreciate that “having your back” literally saves backs. This means a safety culture where co-workers lift properly, lift together when necessary and lift within capacity. This kind of teamwork indicates that workers look out for one another, even when a team member says they don’t need help.
“Overconfidence” is when workers say they can do it all themselves, even when they’re pushing the limit. It comes from ego. Self-importance has no place in any kind of production or warehousing situation. Of course, teamwork means much more than not allowing a co-worker to lift objects that are too heavy. It is explaining to a co-worker or even a supervisor that the short-cut they are thinking about taking is dangerous. It is warning a co-worker about any hazard whether it’s a liquid spill, tripping danger or icy conditions. If more workplaces were focused on teamwork rather than “me-work,” the number of injuries and claims would fall.
Having a co-worker’s back comes from a leadership that is committed to safety, but leadership is a confusing term when it comes to creating safe working conditions. Leadership doesn’t just mean the VP of Manufacturing requires management to attend safety classes, although that is important, or calls in a safety consultant to explain the latest gadgets.
Leadership is a quality that must be instilled in all members of the team. Every worker has the capability to be a leader when it comes to safety. Leaders can create an environment where anyone on the team can approach managers to talk about a safer way of doing things or to point out a dangerous condition or a potential hazard.
As a safety keynote and break-out speaker, I have helped many organizations change the way they view the challenge of making their organization a safer organization in which to work. Having someone’s back is more than a slogan, it is a commitment to stronger teamwork and leadership.
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Mike Hourigan Safety Meeting Break-out Speaker
For more information on Mike Hourigan’s dynamic workplace safety training, call him today at: (704) 875-3030 or fill out the form below.