Thought Leadership


Kids say the darnedest things – about commitments to safety

June 12, 2014
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I was blown away by a report in this morning at one of the client sites I visited. It's amazing how we all keep learning, keep getting more personally safe and together set records of no one being injured. The site I was at just passed the first time in its history with six months no incidents. They began Commitment-Based Safety (CBS) just before that and got an "effectiveness adjustment" about 2-3 months ago.
 
A member of one of the team this morning told us that his 7-year old daughter is doing CBS. She was in the car and said, "Daddy, I have two commitments to safety." Asking his daughter about her comment, he asked what they were. She stated, "One is to wear my seat belt just like you. Since you are now wearing your seat belt for your commitment I want to do the same."  He told her how great that was and asked her the second commitment she chose. And she said, "To look out for you, daddy. If you don't wear your seat belt or do something that could hurt you I will help you."    

This is a 7-year old speaking.

I was getting teary eyed. No one told this man to bring up Commitment-Based Safety at home, and we sure didn't prescribe the "get all  your family members with specific growth commitments”  like this!  Maybe we should have.
 
Another employee jumped in and said, "That's funny, I had something similar happen yesterday."  He went on to say, "It's been raining for about a week here every day and yesterday being the first dry day, I mowed the lawn. I had just started in the front yard when I heard some tapping on the glass. In the front of the house living room window my 3-year old was tapping on the window to get my attention. I looked over and she was smiling and waving me to come over. Stopping the mower, I walked over to the window where she then pointed at her eyes and asked, "Daddy, don't you wear glasses when you mow the lawn?"  His 3-year old daughter was intervening for his safety based on seeing his recent new behavior to use PPE at home as well. He told us all he of course immediately got his safety glasses, which was his commitment but he had not developed the habit yet. His daughter is actively caring at the age of 3 out of seeing her daddy wearing safety glasses the previous few times and wondering why he wasn't doing it this time. 

Inside I was chuckling to myself. "She hasn't had Behavior-Based Safety training nor even my CBS training. Yet the 3-year old is committed to her daddy and she is courageously reminding him of his commitment and helping him be safe.”
 
In that moment, I thought about my family. I have my kids involved in safer driving (commitments). Yet, I thought to myself, "I don't know if my wife has specific commitment(s) to safety". So, I called her just after the meeting. I told her about the committed 7-year old. I told her about the actively caring 3-year old. And I asked her if she had a safety commitment that I could help her with.

In a few minutes, she came up with a big one. Kind of like "Stop work authority" but focused on being a little older with aches and new pains in our 50's - TO NOT DO ANYTHING THAT COULD BE INCREASINGLY RISKY DEPENDING ON HOW I"M PHYSICALLY FEELING".  This even includes not driving if possible as in the Washington DC area each time you drive you are at increased risk with the local crash rate being one every 4.7 years on average. So, we joked and called it the, "Don't do it work authority". Not just stopping, but waiting for me or someone else to do it where that makes sense.
 
My wife now is doing CBS starting today. She was mostly safe before, more conscious of it living around me and my commitments. But now she's right on the playing field, right in the game.

Why? 

Because without anyone even asking, two kids in Louisiana, a 3-year old and a 7-year old put themselves right in the safety game and impacted many of us this morning. They changed our lives to be more safe.

Isn't that how it works. We learn together. 

And the teachers can be any age, my age at 57 or a child of 3 years old ensuring she and her daddy can see each other for the rest of their lives. And imagine that 7-year old already committing to wear her seat belt because that's daddy's commitment and she wants to "belong" by doing the same thing. When she is 16, perhaps she will NEVER be part of the teenage crisis of 5,000 16-19 years olds dying every year in car crashes (the largest cause of death of that age group in America). She will be so good at focusing and managing risk that her family won't have to go to her funeral for a car crash. She's in the game at 7 teaching the rest of us already in with her courage underneath that smile: "Daddy, my other commitment is you - to make sure you are safe."
 
Have a safe day...commit to it being a safe day…for you AND YOUR FAMILY.

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