Wendy Bennett, Crush; July 2016
Working as a safety professional for the past 25 years has allowed me to see changing legislation across jurisdictions, but it has also allowed me to witness a shift in culture. Where my children used to groan when I reminded them to put their helmets on – No Lid, No Wheels – it quickly became second nature for them and today as working young adults, they naturally look for the equipment to protect themselves at work. When they observe a roofer without a fall protection system, they notice and they point it out. The next step is to have them step in and say something, but that takes a lot more confidence.
When you see someone working in an unsafe manner or you see them taking shortcuts that could be risky, how do you feel about speaking up? Do you shake your head and walk by, hoping that nothing happens, or do you feel confident to say something to them, and possibly keep them out of harm’s way?
I’m at the stage in my life where I can no longer ignore blatant risk that I see people subject themselves and others too. The difference is that I have learned how to express my concern so it sounds like I care, because I genuinely do. If I were to walk by while shaking my head, I couldn’t live with myself if something happened. I would believe, and rightly so, that it was my fault – because I have a voice! A voice that may prevent a tragic incident.
In no way am I suggesting that we should yell at people and let them know that they are breaking the rules and that the rules are there for a reason – that role is for a new parent. What I am suggesting is that we need to tell those that are at risk, that we care about them and we don’t want to see them get hurt. We need to remind them that there are people waiting for them to come home from work at the end of the day. In 2015, 122 people in BC did not go home from work – they died on the job. Many of those could have been prevented – maybe by that one passionate voice who reminded them that they cared and that no job is so important that you should risk your safety and ultimately your life.
Safety is MY passion – I hope you can make it yours!
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