In the United States, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration(OSHA) is the agency charged with assuring ‘safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance.’
I had been warmly welcomed to South Africa. We were there to work with a mining construction company who wanted to solve their safety challenge. The immensity of this challenge hit us on our day off while we dealt with our jet lag.
When we survey drivers during our training courses, we regularly have over 90% of participants rating themselves as better than average drivers. You probably fall into this group too. It’s almost certainly true; most of the time at least. I have conducted thousands of driving evaluations over 25 years and have run across very few really bad drivers.
As people were gathering for the meeting, Ami, the safety professional who had brought me to their site, thanked one of the employees for being at the evening session. The employee replied, “Management ‘strongly recommended’ we attend.” By the tone of his voice, he made it clear his leadership was doing all but making attendance at the meeting mandatory.
It’s important to realize the leading reason for people leaving their job is, “They don’t like their supervisor or their boss.” Now consider that safety pros understand how meaningful their job is, and thus are more likely than others to put up with a non-supportive boss. Others quit their job. More safety pros stick with their meaningful work in spite of a “bad” boss than do other workers.
A popular business concept has organizations searching for how they can look to the future while still dealing with day-to-day crisis events. These mini and maxi disruptions come from things like weather disasters, fatalities, spills and the like…and suck our resources dry. Those of you who have experienced such career-shaking times know that pretty much all non-crisis activities and plans cease while you are in the midst of the moment—which seems like it will never end!
When I was a young boy, I marveled at the time and effort my mother put into her annual spring-cleaning. Mom planned a great deal – shopping for her supplies early to make sure that she never had to start and stop once she got moving. And mom was really focused on every detail of cleaning the windows, walls, floors, and all of the furniture.
For the record, I’m against euphemisms; I believe masking the inadequacies or social stigma of one state by calling it something else is wrong-headed and pathetic. I’ve been called a lot of things, but politically correct isn’t one of them.
Safety professionals protect working class employees in countries all around the world. In every situation, we touch the lives of people who labor daily for an hourly wage. Industries, technologies and risks may change, but a common factor remains: men, women (and children) who work the front line, producing what the rest of the world purchases.