This is my new favorite spot in town. It’s a newly opened coffee shop with a drive thru in the strip-mall very close to me. Have you noticed the beautiful crosswalk? Nicely painted, bright yellow, white stripes, unobstructed vision and a thank you sign. I come here just about daily now for a cup of creative inspiration. The other day while waiting in the drive-thru line I saw a near miss between a pedestrian and car in that beautiful crosswalk. Yes, the beautifully painted crosswalk, which sparked a thought, got me thinking, so I took advantage of the nice weather, ditched the car, found a comfortable spot at the coffee shop patio with a view of the drive thru and crosswalk and with my latte in hand, observed for a few days and well, it lead to this blog. In the picture above, to the left of that large column is the coffee shop which can block one from seeing pedestrians approaching the crosswalk. To the right is additional parking and the patio area. At different times of the day like end of school day and end of work day it becomes a very busy strip-mall as a bank, gym and supermarket are here as well amongst other small businesses.
What I learned is you can have a well marked out crosswalk like this one and yet it works only as good to avoid accidents as the people involved allow it. Very much like workplace safety where you work? You can talk about LOTO, you can train a forklift driver and you can talk about safety until blue in the face, but if the employees doing the job don’t follow the rules it won’t work.
The first safety training we ever receive is as a child from our parents or guardians, and they each had a different approach they took to teach us. Whether they sat down and calmly articulated about fire & matches, crossing the street on green lights or talking to strangers and the consequences or they just barraged you loudly with many colorful words about how you deserved what happened for being so stupid when sustaining a bad burn after setting fire to your sister’s dollhouse or ran into the street. The fact is YOUR actions as a parent are the loudest teacher of all! I say that because I was surprised how many moms didn’t make the point of stopping and looking first before crossing, they just walked into the crosswalk with a “go ahead I dare you” attitude. In general too many people overall busy on their phones oblivious to what’s going on around them in the crosswalk.
As a supervisor, when you see a near miss, that is an opportunity to have a discussion on safety. Definitely not by yelling how stupid that was, but by walking with the employee and talking about what happened and what they thought could be done differently and what are their ideas to correct it. Make a note for yourself the date, time, who, incident for future reference and then take a closer look, is there a hazard that needs to be addressed here?
You cannot always count on the fact that the other person will stop in time. Oh they’ll see me. I’m sure those are the last words a worker says just before they’re clipped by a forklift that suddenly backs up or worse, smashes you into a wall or other vehicle. As much as the company is responsible to give you a safe environment to work in, You are also just as responsible. Lead by example, it speaks much louder then slogans and posters. Never make excuses for taking short cuts on safety, you’ll only start to believe them, others will see how easy it is to make excuses and in actuality there really is NO excuse. Always be vigilant. Safety complacency is the quickest way to get a ride to the local E.R. or even into a body bag.