“Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man. (person)” – Benjamin Franklin
Happy New Year and welcome back. It’s that time of year when some of you are actually still following through on your resolution(s) for the new year and I say, bravo to you! Some of you have already begun using creative excuses to avoid your commitment and some have just plain old completely capitulated. I’m curious though, why do those of you waste time on making resolutions, when you’re only going to spend more time, energy and creativity on making excuses for not upholding your resolution? Is it a form of masochistic-procrastination? (you can comment below). Of course, there are also those of you who, like me, who don’t bother making resolutions for the new year. It’s not that I’m perfect and don’t need improvement, far from it. It’s not that I’m beyond help, or too old to learn a new trick or can’t change my ways. It is just that this is what works best for me, to make course adjustments as needed throughout the year and taking on different challenges or projects as they pique my interest in relation to self-improvement, training, family, work, travel and play.
I didn’t start out with a New Year resolution to become a soccer ref that year but that spring when my daughter began to play and I watched her get bounced around with no calls I knew I could do a better job, so I took the 18 hour course, got my license and began to practice what I preached on the pitch. With each season I worked on being a better ref because I enjoyed what I was doing. Watching other refs at work, on the field on T.V. or on videos made be a better ref but it also slowly melded into improving my interpersonal skills as I dealt with players, parents, and coaches. Whichever way you decide to go, whatever works for you, it should be comfortable for you but please also look at all the choices and experiment, push your comfort zone a little, test one or two out or even take some from one, a little from another it’s totally up to you but you should always do what is going to work best improving YOU and not just to make someone else happy. Over the years I’ve found one real truth, that people only change their behavior when they really want to change it, so give yourself everything you need to help you make those changes and keep in mind it then takes 21 days to turn an action into a habit.
However, whether new year resolutions are involved or not some industries will just never get it. Imagine if all baby strollers on the market were made in a way so that even when you set the brake and let go, the stroller would roll away on it’s own. No matter what you did, even on a flat surface, the stroller would roll away from you and build up speed as it moved unless you grabbed it. The cry from the public would be loud and steady, politicians would speak of the horror and push for legislation, television news to would do stories on corresponding tragedies and loss of life. Safe to say the way strollers were made would be changed all most overnight. We have this technology called Positive Train Control (PTC) and it’s been around for quite awhile. Even though it could save lives it’s implementation has been constantly put off by the industry with one excuse or another and aided by the apathy of our political leaders who could have made it mandatory, but then babies aren’t dying, only commuters. Editorial: End delay to train safety What are we waiting for, a larger disaster?
So not only in our GREAT nation have, we allowed trains to derail or collide but now we are falling behind on worker safety as this tale of two countries demonstrates. Singapore had a very high rate of death of workers on the job and decided to do something about it. They put new laws on the books and unlike our country, they actually heavily enforced those laws and now, Workplace deaths fall to a 13-year low while here in the U.S. worker deaths increased by 7% to over 5,000 dead. Who’s the third world country? Now more then ever, never keep quiet about safety.
What happens when a companies safety program is free will, you wind up killing employees. Demolition company fined $101K in Holland Civic Center workplace death. Upon investigation, Michigan OSHA found 7 violations, 5 of which were directly related to the fatality. One other worker was seriously injured and now X-Treme Demolition Inc. is facing fines of $101,000 for no fall protection given to workers, no inspections, nothing, cause what could go wrong. I don’t think the fines are enough and any owner, CEO or manager who purposely puts workers in harm’s way and someone dies due to this should be in jail for manslaughter. Monetary fines don’t deter companies since they budget for this. We need to start putting people in prison.
You’d think by now that when it comes to working in confined spaces companies would have learned by now how dangerous they can be if not following proper guidelines. Construction Company Cited After Fatal Gas Exposures Before you go in ask, what was in there before and has the atmosphere been tested to see if it’s clear of any hazardous materials. Is emergency retrieval equipment in place to get you out of there quickly? Why this is tragic is when one guy went down the others reacted immediately to save a friend without any thought to their own safety. Each time they were overcome by fumes in the confined space and died and the company was only fined $59,576 which works out to just under $20,000 per life. I guess we’re all collateral damage to companies that maintain profits are more important than their worker’s well being.
The same training, practices and prevention techniques that you receive at work you can apply just as easily to your home. An industrial kitchen is cleaned often and kept free of debris and systems in place that will keep insects and vermin out and so can you. At work, they train employees how to use a fire extinguisher and respond to a medical or environmental emergency that may arise and so can you. Please teach your children early and often about the dangers of fire, matches, and stoves. FDNY: Bronx Fire Caused By Child Playing With Stove. Protect your family and your home. If you have questions about home safety please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Thanks to the new tax laws, companies should have a lot more cash on hand. How the company spends that extra cash will speak volumes about how they care about their employees. Some have decided to hand out $1,000 cash bonuses to workers, which is nice but still a drop in the bucket for those barely making minimum wage. Those companies that take the money and put it into developing and implementing safety programs and PPE to help save workers lives should be touted as companies to work at, but those that just pocket the cash for themselves and continue to allow workers to die in confined spaces, from falls, from neglect should have their names mounted in neon lights so the world can see who they are and to avoid, who to NOT do business with and who to boycott. Never keep quiet about safety for the life you save may be your own.