A brand new year will soon be upon us and this is my year in review as we bid 2014 a fond farewell. No doubt that 2014 has been a compelling year as it has had everything including wars, armed conflicts, kidnappings, massacres, disappearing aircraft, shootings, protest and all types of disasters unleashed by mother nature. However there was some positive news that came out of this chaos as we saw a big drop in unemployment and the comeback of manufacturing in the U.S. or as this years new buzz word states it, a successful “on shoring”. Unfortunately this increased manufacturing was over shadowed with record fines from OSHA as some companies continue to demonstrate more concern for profits while not thinking twice about putting human life in jeopardy to obtain it. It is obvious that workers are still being sacrificed to the deity of $money$ as a record number of citations were handed out this year, 8,241 in just the category of failure to provide fall protection. That’s 22.5 a day. The fall protection standard also now has the distinction of being the most frequently cited violation 4 years in a row!
But is it only the love of money that companies continue to put workers in harms way? Isn’t it also the low fines and lack of jail time that allows companies to incorporate amputations and deaths as just a part of the expense of doing business? They are both part of the problem but the larger issue is actually the continued growing lack of respect for other people. The lack of respect for people who are different from you and the lack of respect to acknowledge that people make the company successful. The lack of respect to provide fall protection gear for workers when working on roofs or other great heights. The lack of respect for people who are undocumented workers, hired and taken advantage of because they don’t know the rules and won’t complain out of fear of deportation. The lack of respect for people by disabling emergency shut offs or safety protocol so production can’t be stopped. But what makes it alarming is it’s not just companies demonstrating a lack of respect for people! It is us! Lack of respect for other motorist and not signaling a turn or lane change but expect everyone to know what you’re doing. Lack of respect by blocking an aisle or doorway with your cart like you’re the only one in the supermarket. Lack of respect for neighbor’s property and don’t clean up after your dog. Lack of respect for others as you blow through a right turn on red and/or park next to a fire hydrant. Guess what, if you have kids when you perform these acts they are watching and learning from you as you treat other people without respect. They grow up thinking it’s the way to be. It doesn’t stop there does it? You also make comments out loud in response to the latest news story you’re watching or about the new people that moved in next door not thinking again of the affect you have. They won’t see what’s really there as you have tainted their view. The “rag-head” that moved in next door is actually of proud Sikh heritage and a physics professor. The “wet-back” selling fruit on a corner is actually a U.S. citizen laid off from the plant and just trying to make ends meet. The man with tattoos wearing a hoodie is not a “threat” but the chef of your favorite restaurant.
As we begin 2015 let’s remember that we are all different in some way and just like a snowflake each one of us has similarities but also our own uniqueness. We vary in size and shape and are formed through different influences and experiences. We are not better then the next person or worse then the next person but just different. Is it possible that in 2015 you can step a little outside your comfort zone and not react in a negative fashion to how someone different looks whether or not they can help you with your journey in life? You’d be surprised how similar your goals really are.
Without respect there can be no discussion. Without discussion there can be no resolution. Without resolution there can be no progress. Without progress, we all perish.