What does safety mean to you?

What does safety mean to you? Do you think of your family, your friends, your coworkers and yourself when you hear or read the word safety?

Safety is a word we take for granted. We assume that everything is in good working order, that environmental conditions are good, that the people around us are paying attention to the tasks at hand. The reality is we expect everything to work in a perfect order. We assume that nothing is going to happen because everything went smoothly earlier today, last week and even last year. Safety is something we talk about but soon forget. We remember it when someone gets hurt or property is damaged. We then talk about what happened. Do we learn from what happened?

Safety is a value or a culture. Think of it as a way of life. If something is of interest, we learn all we can about it. It may become a hobby or a form of entertainment. Things like cooking, fishing, hunting, working on mechanical things. We want to excel at things we like to do. Our hobbies and activities have a right way and a wrong way to do things. These procedures done the right way make our activities easier and more rewarding. All of us need to think of this when we think of safety and our work environment. We are concerned about safety when it involves a family member; we should be as concerned about safety when it comes to each one of us. Each of us has done something to speed up a job or a task; we have thought about the rewards of completing the task or project. We may have felt relieved after completing that particular task that nothing happened to cause injury or property damage. I am sure many of us are tired from the stress our bodies went through to get the job done. If we take a few minutes to think things through, to have a plan, our tasks are easier to complete. We plan to go home at the end of the workday. It is a value. We need to plan our day so that we follow up on the plan of going home.

We need to be aware of our surroundings. When we were all young children our parents, family members and teachers all taught us how to safely cross a street. We were taught to stop, look both ways, and to cross the street when no cars or trucks were approaching us. And we all became good at this since we are reading this right now. We were taught the skills how to do something and those skills once used several times became a value. Most of us have been in the construction industry for many years. We have all listened to the same tool box talks, or training sessions, whether it is on ladder safety or electrical safety. The purpose is not to waste time when we could be working to get the job done. The purpose is to remind us of the skills and values we need to not cause injury to ourselves or others. To be able go home to our wives and children, to be able to enjoy our free time with them, enjoy time with our friends and enjoy our time away from work doing our hobbies or activities.

We as adults have learned the right way to do things and yet it is our nature to do things the easiest possible way. If we did that with crossing the street and just walked into the street I am sure many of us would have been hurt or killed by a motor vehicle.

Since we were children each one of us has learned values. It is the foundation of what makes each one of us unique. We need to remember those values and build upon them. We need to understand that we control our ability to do a task effectively for the long term benefit of ourselves, our family, coworkers and friend.

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