The need for clarity & no distractions
Safety and the “Batter’s Eye”
It is called the Batter’s Eye. You can find one in every Major League Baseball park and stadium. But the question is, where are they located? And the next question is, how do they work?
Recently my son’s baseball team toured the Texas Rangers’ baseball park in Arlington. As we walked onto the field, our tour guide asked the boys if they knew where the Batter’s Eye was located. Standing in the awkward silence of that moment I soon began to realize that not only were the boys stumped, but the parents were as well.
Finding the spot
Then with the skill of an old storyteller, our guide revealed to us, as if it were a well-kept secret, the location and purpose of the Batter’s Eye. He explained that if you look past the pitcher’s mound and above the center field fence you will see a large area of green grass. “That’s the Batter’s Eye,” he said in a whisper, “and every big league ballpark has one, and they are all located in the same spot. They are extremely important and the batters are thankful for them.”
“The purpose for the Batter’s Eye,” he continued, “is to give the batter a clear and undistracted view of the baseball as it leaves the pitcher’s hand. It is to protect the batter from possibly being hit by a ball that he is not able to see or cannot immediately locate.” That is right, Major League Baseball players use a blank background to gain clarity as they decide which pitch they are going to swing at – fastball or slow curve.
Clear & undistracted knowledge
As construction workers our “Batter’s Eye” is a clear and undistracted working knowledge of the safety program and safety culture that each of us embrace. For some, the Batter’s Eye may be a tool box talk that takes place in the early morning hours before each of us walks on to our “playing field” call a construction site. For others, the Batter’s Eye may be a Lunch-n-Learn opportunity that functions as a “7th inning stretch” in the middle of the day.
There may be times when the Batter’s Eye is viewed by some as an inconvenience. Their jeers may sound like, “Hey, we are giving up a prime spot for a great view of the game.” Or “It is a distraction to the outfielders and to the fans.”
Our safety talks, orientations, audits, pre-task plans and site safety meetings are not “distractions.” These are all major league components in a game that each of us participate in daily. There may not be loud out-burst of cheers; and, we may not see our fellow co-workers doing the “Wave” as we leave the job site after a safe day of work. But even the most cynical worker among us slides into their car seat, like a baserunner coming to home plate, breathing a sigh of thankfulness for the safety culture that protected them during their daily work.
This safety knowledge protects us from unforeseen and unknown distractions and mishaps that are part of our daily work. Our Batter’s Eye enables us to work with clarity and swing-for-the-fences as we face whatever “pitch” our job site might throw at us.