Bringing Safety Home

October 10, 2012
By Rocky Palmer, HR & Risk Manager

I believe Wright Tree Service has one of the best safety programs in the industry. Each day, we come to work with safety on our minds. We put on our personal protective equipment (PPE), check our equipment and look out for one another. We routinely audit our efforts and reinforce the practice of safety. And, we have a good safety record (but it can always be better). We put a strong emphasis on safety each and every day at work, but how do we incorporate safety into our lives at home?

A couple of years ago we conducted a safety culture survey. Of the many responses we received, one in particular stood out to me. When asked to respond to the statement “I use what I learn at work to improve safety at home,” we found that 46 percent of our employees responded negatively; they did not use what they learned at work to improve safety in their homes. At first I did not understand the far-reaching impact of these responses, but now I do, and I hope you will understand, too.

It’s no secret that our industry has a young work force. All of you have families, and many of you have children. Recently, I had the opportunity to put a child in a new highchair, equipped with a seat belt. At first I thought a seat belt on a highchair was ridiculous – they didn’t have those when I had young children. But after hooking it up and watching the child – my grandson, it was clear that he could slip under the tray or flip over the side if not secured in the seat. I’m now a believer and would not put a child in a highchair without a seat belt.

There are many more examples of how we can take safety to a new level in our homes. I recently received an email with a video of a motivational speaker. The video begins with the speaker being led to a podium by his guide dog and telling the audience that he used to be a chemical factory worker. For nearly 20 years, he used his PPE, including safety glasses. His belief was that since they required them at work, he would follow the rules, but once off work, he would not need them. He explained that one day, a simple miscommunication with his son changed his life. While hunting together, the man ended up directly in the line of fire of his son’s shot gun, and he was blinded. At the hospital, he asked the surgeon whether or not safety glasses would have made a difference. Without hesitation, the doctor said that the use of appropriate safety glasses would have saved his sight.

Safety should not only be followed during business hours but also taken home with you each and every day. Safety is a way of life. I hope the next time we conduct the safety culture survey, many more employees will answer they “highly agree” that they use what they learn at work to improve safety at home. I know I will.