Let me give you some background information about myself and where I work. I am a third generation miner with 35 years of experience; the last two years I have held a position as a safety coordinator with my work group.
At our mine site we have a program that uses a “Safety Participation Card” which we use to help perform a FLRA or Field Level Risk Assessment; also what we like to see happen is the exchange of cards by employees. When the cards are exchanged, we will read their FLRA and discuss with each other our observations. To acknowledge this discussion and exchanging of cards we sign their card with our initials and sometimes with a personal statements like “ Be safe,” “Good card.”
Doubts about the message
At times, I think people who work in safety have doubts as to how effective we are at getting the “message” out, so we constantly talk about our job on site and at home.
One Saturday afternoon after having lunch at our favorite Chinese buffet in town, we got back in our van to head home. I told my four daughters to make sure they buckle up because daddy can not be seen driving around town without our seatbelts on. In reality, my daughters who range in ages from 17 to 10 have taught me the importance of wearing my seatbelt. But to go on with my story; my wife said to the girls, “For heaven sake girls make sure your seatbelts are on or daddy will have us do an FLRA and sign his card.”
Well, not wanting to pass up an opportunity to have some fun with my wife, I pulled a card out of my center console and started passing the card to my girls. To my surprise, they started asking me about the card and why they were signing it. It was great to see them signing my card and passing it around to each other.
When it finally got to my wife, I asked her, “Are you going to sign my card?” She said, “Sure honey,” and signed it and gave back to me.
Being proud as a peach with myself, I started reading my daughters’ comments. One wrote “Thanks Dad”; another wrote “Remember your seatbelt Dad.”
I flipped my card over to read my loving wife comments. Let me put it this way to you, what she wrote I cannot write in this article. This goes to show you that even with people who love you, you’re not always going to win their hearts and minds. All you can do is keep trying to get the “message” out.
Therefore, my brothers and sisters in safety, all I can say is, “Keep the faith, keep the faith.” We can win, even if it is just one person at a time.
October 1, 2007