"It is ingrained in all living creatures, first of all, to preserve their own safety, to guard against what is harmful, to strive for what is advantageous."
--- Saint Ambrose
Often overlooked in our busy days of creating great sign products, improving our service department, and striving to do the best that we can for our customers, is the area of safety for our team members and all who enter our business property and job sites. It is not that we don't care about safety, but that we really don't think too much about it beyond what is required by DOT, OSHA, and other governing Big Brother eyes.
In fact, if it weren't for some of the job safety laws that are in place, many of us probably wouldn't think much of providing a safe working environment. It is not that we don't care, but that we probably did the same job without all the hassle of reflective vests, harnesses, hardhats, steel-toed boots, and more. We never got hurt, so why should it matter now?
"Your crew becomes your family and you trust the director and the other actors on the set, and it's a very safe place."
--- Aleksa Palladino
Obviously, a lot of the hoopla over safety comes from frivolous lawsuits and two-bit attorneys looking for a quick buck. However, there are some legitimate concerns about safety and some of our laws are working pretty well in preventing some horrific accidents and career-ending maneuvers.
But the fact still remains, and as corny as it sounds, safety begins with you. It begins with educating team members about the importance of proper lifting techniques, the safe handling of materials, the safe operation of equipment, and how to safely take care of one another. A bumper sticker that says, "Safety is Job One," is not the same as demonstrating how to safely drive a forklift and how using a cell phone while driving a company vehicle is a firing offense.
"Safety's just danger, out of place."
--- Harry Connick, Jr.
If you are funning your own business, you already know that accidents can be very costly. Prevention is the best, and cheapest way to avoid these expenses. There are three things you can begin doing now to keep your team and your business safe. The first is to begin educating your team members about the importance of safety. Don't just remind them that they must wear a harness when in a bucket repairing a sign. That is simply to prevent getting fined by OSHA. Educate them on why. Find some images online of accidents because people were not wearing the harness. It is harsh, but it drives the point home.
"When you design it, think how you would feel if you had to fly it! Safety first!"
--- Donald Wills Douglas
Next, keep a list of accidents on file and a record of the costs involved. Without mentioned names, show your team members how much it has cost the company due to employees not following safety guidelines. Let them know that this is money that could have been passed onto them or for the purchase of a party, a new truck, or a trip somewhere.
"Last year in a historic move, the state of New York passed the very first cigarette fire safety standard."
--- Ed Markey
Finally, don't wait for the government to tell you to implement a safety procedure. Look for things that don't look safe and make the necessary corrections. While visiting job sites, look at what is being lifted, how it is lifted, and see if you can improve on some safety factors. Would it help to buy lifting belts for the crew? Do we need to have a class on lifting techniques?
There is always a way to improve on efficiency and looking at safety factors is one of those ways. Do something this week to improve safety at your business.
"My safety and my family's safety are not guaranteed even now."
--- Chen Guangcheng