Here at the City of Fort Collins, where safety matters as much as getting the job done, we believe that people cannot be reckless at home and then magically become safe when they report to work.
That’s why part of our renewed focus on safety includes talking about safety not only on the job, but off the job as well.
Storytelling is one of the most powerful ways to get people thinking about safety. People may not remember the safety statistics, but what they will remember is the story about a co-worker getting something painful in their eye while mowing the lawn, or falling and breaking their arm when installing a ceiling fan because they didn’t take the time to get a proper ladder, or having their car totaled by a distracted driver.
At the beginning of each staff meeting or gathering we take time for someone to share a story about safety — a “safety moment.”
Safety hazard recognition reporting has become an integral part of our storytelling. Staff at our waste water treatment plant is piloting a program to encourage more safety discussion and ultimately injury prevention. These stories always generate a lot of discussion, and what better way to get people thinking about safety?
Recently, one of our leaders had the courage to tell his story. His wife had called him at work to tell him that their daughter had a bad report from the dentist — she had five cavities.
He said he was so upset for his young daughter; he knew she was diligent about her teeth brushing, and he helped her with that. At this point he had to switch gears and operate some heavy-duty equipment to continue his work, but he was still distracted by the news.
He went ahead and soon found himself driving off the edge of the pathway. He tipped the machine over without even realizing it. Fortunately, he was uninjured and the machine was not damaged. No one else was around, so no one else was injured, either.
The worker quickly got up, brushed himself off and proceeded to right the equipment with his truck.
He said before our focus on safety, he would not have reported this incident and certainly did not want to admit he was operating equipment while distracted. But in our open environment not only did he feel safe in talking about it, he felt compelled to tell his story in hopes that it would prevent others from falling into the same trap.
Share this safety talk with your workers to help them stay safe while off the job.
People tend to rush when performing tasks at home, because they want to have time for leisure activities. Read this article for more information.
Editor’s note: The following article was written by Kelly Bernish, director of safety, security and risk management for the City of Fort Collins, CO.