March 25, 2022 at 1:10 pm #1008Xaq O RiordainParticipant
Am I a “Total Jerk?”
I was thinking of how to help bolster safety culture and make safety personal to everyone. I was inspired to write a true story, one spanning my career. One I hope inspires others to do the right thing. I’d like to share it with you. This true story has been put together over ~20 years of my career as a Safety Professional.
Am I a “total jerk?” …This is my life’s story. I hope it helps someone you love.
I am a Health & Safety Professional. Throughout my career, I’ve been called a “total jerk” and much, much worse because I enforce safety and PPE rules at work. I’ve been blamed for being on a “power trip…” just waiting to “get them.” I’ve been called everything you can imagine to my face and behind my back. Want to know why?
Because I care. I want people to be able to go home to their loved ones every day, healthy and happy. So, if you aren’t wearing your safety glasses, maybe you won’t be able to see your daughter get married in her dream dress and the beautiful captivating smile on her face during the moment she’s been waiting for since she was 12 as she dances, electrified in glee with the man she’s given her sweet heart to. Not wearing your hand protection? Maybe you won’t be able to hold your wife’s hand, comforting her as she gives birth to your new child. Maybe you won’t be able to hold your new child as she’s welcomed into this world. Maybe you won’t be able to hold your wife’s hand at your 50th anniversary; the one that could have held her so sweetly and firmly, giving her your loving reassurance. Not wearing your foot protection? Maybe you won’t be able to take that European backpacking trip you and your buddies have been planning since high school. Maybe you won’t be able to run alongside your son as he giggles, beaming with joy and excitement as he learns to ride his bicycle for the first time. Maybe you’ll miss out on those things; all the moments with the people that love and care about you that makes life so purely magical.
You see, every time someone gets hurt, it affects their loved ones, their friends and many times, their co-workers. It doesn’t just affect you. If you get hurt on the job and can’t work, guess who gets to work overtime to cover you and therefore can’t spend time with their own families? You got it!
I’ve investigated fatalities from work-related accidents. FULLY PREVENTABLE fatalities. People taking shortcuts, not wearing their PPE, not following LOTO procedures, etc. It is HEARTBREAKING to see their loved ones break down and cry, collapsing hopelessly to the floor as their life is changed forever in an instant because they were just informed that they will NEVER see them again. That good-bye kiss earlier this morning, that sweet embrace just before you went to work, the last “I love you” she’ll ever hear…the last one…ever. He is now a pile of ashes because he didn’t wear his arc flash suit, because he was just going to be “quick” when racking out a breaker.
Someone’s husband, father and best friend literally ripped in two by his equipment because he took a shortcut…4 days before he was supposed to retire. His wife will not be able to throw that surprise retirement party for him; the one she’s been excitedly planning in secret for the last year. Instead, she’ll spend her time in loss and mourning, wondering what could have been and all the years ahead, lost in an instant. All the while, her suffering could have easily been prevented…by you! Tragically heartbreaking!!!
What will you say when your grandchildren ask why papa only has one eye? Will you tell them it’s my fault because I was a “jerk” to you; or will you own it and share the lessons learned?
I am trying to protect you so that your family can enjoy your company and love for the rest of your natural life! I teach and train you so that you have the knowledge and skills to make the right, informed decisions; at work and at home. So that you’ll be there for your wife as you watch your children grow, and the wrinkles on your faces each become a story to tell that is fraught with laughter and love.
So the next time you think me or someone else is bothering you and you think they are a “jerk” because they ask you to put your hard hat on, please don’t take it off in disgust as they disappear around the corner. The next time someone asks you to use the 4-gas monitor before welding, please do! The next time someone asks you to put on your safety glasses to protect your sight, please do! In the event something was to happen and you were protected, I’ll bet you would see us and how much we care in a different light…and I’ll bet your loved ones will too!
As a Safety Professional, you never really know how many lives you’ve saved when it goes right. But you damn sure know how many have been lost when it doesn’t.
My name is Xaq, and this is my true-life story; what’s yours going to be?March 28, 2022 at 2:56 pm #1009Rick GrobartKeymaster
WOW! Powerful powerful stuff Xaq. I’m sorry you had to see/deal with all that tragedy, but grateful you’re able to turn it into lessons for others to live – and learn – by. Thanks for sharing!March 28, 2022 at 2:56 pm #1010Rick GrobartKeymaster
WOW! Powerful powerful stuff Xaq. I’m sorry you had to see/deal with all that tragedy, but grateful you’re able to turn it into lessons for others to live – and learn – by. Thanks for sharing!
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