By Vogel Bros. Safety Department
Our actions make a difference.
A key belief discussed daily at Vogel Bros. Building Co. is that our actions make a difference. But there are days when we wonder, “Is our message really making a difference? Are we doing enough to keep everyone on our jobsites safe?” When a subcontractor repeatedly is caught working without safety glasses on; when an employee shows up to the jobsite without proper attire on; or when a worker is injured on the jobsite (no matter how minor the injury may seem); situations such as these weigh on the Safety Department as well as the organization as a whole.
Safety & Health Magazine recently discussed this and put perspective on WHY our actions truly do make a difference. A key takeaway for us all – both at work as well as in our personal lives – is the following statement from the article’s author Richard Hawk: “It’s encouraging to remember that you are part of a legacy of dramatic change that continues to make our society more humane.”
So each morning as you get up and start your day – whether you get up and go to work, go to school, or tend to your household or family – remember that you are a part of the change you see in the world around you, and your actions DO make a difference.
The following is an excerpt from the article “All About You: Realize You’re Making a Difference” by Richard Hawk. For the full article, visit Safety & Health Magazine.
I was surprised by the results of the recent Safety+Health opinion poll question, Do the rewards of being an occupational safety and health professional outweigh the frustrations? About one-third of the responses were “No.” That’s more than I would have guessed.
As with any poll, the results may not perfectly represent the general population of professionals targeted, but it does show that many find our profession frustrating. The poll question is an important one that can apply to many aspects of our lives, such as the clubs we belong to, the relationships we’re in and our habits. Our answers could stimulate some soul-searching that may inspire us to make positive changes.
My experience as a full-time occupational safety and health professional included frustrations, but I felt the rewards outweighed them. Now, as a professional speaker and consultant, I interact with all kinds of safety and health professionals regularly, so I still get to hear about the pains and joys of the job. I’ve found that people who have a positive outlook on their occupational safety and health career tend to strongly appreciate this main reward: the sense of satisfaction they get from realizing they’re making an important, positive difference in employees’ lives.
One time, a worker came into my office and showed me a pair of safety glasses with a nick in one lens. He told me he was wearing them while using a weed trimmer at home when a stone flew up and hit his glasses. He said the only reason he was wearing eye protection was because he had attended a safety meeting I conducted. During the meeting, I explained how easy it was for a stone or piece of metal to penetrate an eye. I also compared the speed of a professional pitcher’s fastball to that of debris leaving a weed trimmer. He said that the pitching analogy stuck with him.
You rarely get such a direct link between your influence and preventing an injury. That’s one of the reasons it can seem like your efforts don’t make much of a difference. Imagine if you could list the names of people whose lives or limbs you have saved. I know my demand as a speaker would soar if I could prove who has not gotten hurt or killed because they attended one of my talks. But that’s not reality.
Yes, some employees may not appreciate your efforts, but most do and that’s a welcome perk. It’s encouraging to remember that you are part of a legacy of dramatic change that continues to make our society more humane.