If we could only go back to the day when “men were men”… Oh, really!?
I want to address the topic of general safety today and try to tie it into a (thankfully) bygone time.
Not too many years ago, I worked my summers as an ironworker in construction. (OK, it was maybe a few too many years ago…but that’s not the point!) It was at a time when construction accidents and deaths were much more commonplace than today. The macho mentality then was that it was just part of the job, and you had to take your chances. Ironworkers seldom wore safety harnesses, and it was even acceptable to “ride the headache ball”—that is to wrap one leg around the dangling crane cable, place one foot on the cable weight (“headache ball”), hang on to the cable with one hand and let the crane operator whisk you up to the top of the steel structure that was being assembled.
I worked with two cousins who were so well-known for their aerial skills that they put on a steel-erecting demonstration during an employee appreciation day event. I still have photos of Charlie and Roy as they fearlessly walked along I-beams more than a hundred feet in the air, meeting the crane at the end of a precariously incomplete structure to connect in the next piece of steel. No safety net; no safety harnesses; just cold nerves of steel and the balance of a tightrope walker.
I don’t know what became of Charlie and Roy as the years passed. But I am thankful for the advancements in safety expectations. A lot of the commonplace work approaches of the past are no longer acceptable. It’s not about machismo anymore. Nor should it be.
The new Investment Recovery Handbook has an excellent chapter on safety that I commend to your reading. One practical piece of advice in the book reads as follows: “It is not unusual for IR professionals to visit multiple locations across the breadth of their company. [Even if] you have been a long time employee of your company with well earned professional pride and familiarity about your industry, one sage piece of advice is to always consider yourself to be the guest or visitor at a location.” (Order your copy online at InvRecovery.org/Handbook.)
Let someone who works at the location take the lead in showing you around. Remember: Safety doesn’t happen by accident!
Michael W. Rhodes, CMIR Fellow, Dominion Resources Services President, Investment Recovery Association Michael.Rhodes@Dom.com
http://InvRecovery.org/HandbookP.S. With the launch of our new Investment Recovery Online Campus, you can take any one of more than 50 online classes on safety! (Nothing on the “Correct way to ride a headache ball”!) Log on today, and start living safer tomorrow.