The BodyBag – A Personal Wellness Tip…

Times are tough

This post is actually a note I sent to all of my Relentless Safety subscribers shortly after Christmas. With 2020 being the shitshow it is, I figured there were probably a few more people that could use this sage advice given to me by one of my closest freinds.

Just think. If you had already subscribed, you would have had this months ago 😉

Throw your S#!t in a ditch on the way home!

Don’t litter though. Litterbugs aren’t cool.

That tagline above refers to a piece of advice my good friend Jason Lucas (creator of the #socialmediasafetyminute and co-host of the Safety Justice League Podcast) gave me one morning. He and I chat regularly about business, but the conversation we had that day was geared more toward supporting each other. I won’t bore you with the details, but I’d been struggling with a few stressful situations at work. Jason patiently listened, offered a few similar examples from his own experience, and then he challenged me to do something about it.

He told me to imagine all of the crap I was dealing with as tangible things I could pack into a duffel bag. On my way home that night, he instructed, I was to find a landmark that I drive past every day on my way to and from work and toss the duffel bag out the window. I would then pick it up on my way in the next morning.

While that might seem like a silly exercise on the surface, I’d encourage each of you to try it. Sometimes all of our baggage follows us everywhere. We take it home to our families and let it run around the living room with no pants on screaming at us about how terrible we are at life. But that’s really not fair, or true. If you’re reading this post right now, you’re infinitely more blessed than almost anyone else in the history of mankind (seriously, history has been a bitch).

That little mind game has been a breath of fresh air for me. I’d tell you more about the negative thoughts it has freed me from, but that shit’s in a duffel bag in a ditch by the rock sign until tomorrow morning. For a little added fun, I designed my duffel bag to look a little bit like a BodyBag just to freak anyone out who might happen upon my imaginary creation (how trippy would that be?).

I wish you all a safe week and a great holiday weekend. If you’re carrying too much baggage with you today, go find a ditch to throw it in.

If you’re new to this blog, let me introduce myself. My name is Jason. I’m a safety professional, podcast host, author, and world-renowned origami artist (that’s a lie). If you’re NOT new to this blog, go buy my book… it’s like this but multiplied by the power of unicorn tears. In any case, I hope you enjoy the content here. Please like, share, and join in the discussion as we all pursue Relentless Safety.

Safety is Just a Part of… LIFE?

The picture will make sense once you listen

In safety it’s so easy to get bogged down with bueurocracy and red tape. It’s such a common pitfall that we often loose our way (everyone’s guilty) and start looking for what’s wrong with people. We focus on the “stupid” things people do. We harp on “carelessness” and berate “unsafe behavior.”

Here’s the thing, though. Wouldn’t the world (and humanity) look a little different if we tried to see things through someone else’s point of view? Not just saying it, but truly understanding.

I have a feeling we would “manage” safety a lot differently if we did.

P.S. The podcast episode below is a recorded version of THIS POST. It really takes on a new life when “Lil Stabby” herself takes the mic.

P.P.S. I hope you can hear the sarcasm in my quotation marks.

Relentless Safety Live!

At the time of the recording anyway.

Who doesn’t love a good, well performed audio book?

I have to admit, recording these blog posts gives them new life for me. Check out my latest audio #safetysnakebite and let me know what you think.

If you’re new to this blog, let me introduce myself. My name is Jason. I’m a safety professional, podcast host, author, and world-renowned origami artist (that’s a lie). If you’re NOT new to this blog, go buy my book… it’s like this but multiplied by the power of unicorn tears. In any case, I hope you enjoy the content here. Please like, share, and join in the discussion as we all pursue Relentless Safety.

When Ron Gantt Ate A Frito Pie: On Safety & Common Sense

Who doesn’t love a Frito Pie?

Well for starters, Ron Gantt didn’t until recently. I can say that with a high degree of certainty because prior to February 28th of 2020, he’d never had one. Let me back up a bit…

Before the world went completely bats#!t crazy I had the honor of having lunch with Ron along with Marc Yeston and the one and only Dr. Todd Conklin. I’d never been to the restaurant before, so on my way into town I stopped to gas up and call Ron for directions. When he picked up, the first thing I heard was Todd loudly proclaim:

“Ron’s never had a Frito Pie. We need to fix that!”

So, I ended up at a nice diner in downtown Santa Fe where Frito Pie was a staple. It was a great lunch.

Then I got to thinking

“Common Sense” could easily lead someone to think that a snack food as quintessential as Frito Pie would be known to most adults living in this country in the year 2020. The thing is, that version of “Common Sense” is only valid to someone who has eaten a pile of corn chips smothered in chili and cheese.

Believe it or not, that thought has been stuck in my head since that day. Ron and I have discussed it a few times since and it strikes me that eating Frito Pie is a lot like work. And not simply because of the “chore” that becomes necessary shortly after you eat one. Its a representation of perspective, communication, and understanding.

Experience may does vary

One of the most common pitfalls in human communication is assumption. We’re hard wired to do it though… Think about it. How many times have you had a conversation with someone who is ten topics ahead of you yet provided no context to what they are talking about? My wife and I do it to each other so often that we’ve gotten in the habit of telling the other “I’m not in there” (as in, inside your brain).

The truth is everyone sees, feels, smells, hears, and touches the world through their own, unique lens. Even experiences shared amongst close friends and loved ones are perceived differently by every single participant. You will never know how I see the world, nor will I you. That’s part of what makes us great. But its also what makes us cynical.

Enter work…

Here’s where this idea gets interesting. It’s such a simple concept, but it is so so hard to practice. If it’s true that every person’s experience is unique, then everyone you meet knows things you don’t. That part is easy enough to digest… But think about it the next time someone does something undesirable at work. It could be anything: performing a task sub-optimally, breaking a rule, triggering an incident (with or without injury). If that person’s life experience is truly different than yours (and it is), then you have NO IDEA why that person behaved a certain way in a certain circumstance. Chances are you will never find out why if you simply believe the person should have known better.

Allow yourself to reflect on that for a while. Then ask yourself if your judgement of the actions of others really fits the context they were living in before the undesirable thing happened. It may just change the way you look at the way work (and maybe even the world) works.

But wait… There’s more!!!

Ron and I recorded a really great conversation about work a while back. It’s something everyone in the safety field should take a listen to. Check it out and let me know what you think (don’t forget to like, subscribe, and share)!

If you’re new to this blog, let me introduce myself. My name is Jason. I’m a safety professional, podcast host, author, and world-renowned origami artist (that’s a lie). If you’re NOT new to this blog, go buy my book… it’s like this but multiplied by the power of unicorn tears. In any case, I hope you enjoy the content here. Please like, share, and join in the discussion as we all pursue Relentless Safety.

And Now… For Something Entirely Different

Relentless Safety is a journey, not a number (metric)

Is your safety an illusion?

Throughout my writing on this site (and my book) I’ve explored themes of poor safety practices (Fox Paws) pretty extensively. One area where I hope I can influence some change is the idea that good rates is equivalent to good safety. It’s just false logic. And it blinds us to the real issues our people face.

I’ve written several posts about this topic. You can check out a few HERE, HERE, and HERE. But this week I wanted to do something different.

SOOOOO, I present to you, my first audio blog. It’s based on THIS ORIGINAL POST from a few months back. Let me know if you like it. I could probably be persuaded to do more…

If you’re new to this blog, let me introduce myself. My name is Jason. I’m a safety professional, podcast host, author, and world-renowned origami artist (that’s a lie). If you’re NOT new to this blog, go buy my book… it’s like this but multiplied by the power of unicorn tears. In any case, I hope you enjoy the content here. Please like, share, and join in the discussion as we all pursue Relentless Safety.

Inside-Out Safety

Now for something a little different…

A few weeks ago I put out some feelers on social asking if anyone would want to contribute some stories of their own for Relentless Safety. The response was crazy. I’m still going through emails and trying to find places where these pieces will fit and get maximum exposure. Because they’re great.

The following is from Dr. Sylvia Lee. Dr. Lee provides management consulting services in strengths-based leadership and organizations, organizational design and development, and general leadership development.  Her program, PowerUp Leadership supports leaders in becoming strengths-based.

Safety from the inside out:

Safety isn’t just about you.

A few years ago, the concept of the triple bottom line commanded considerable attention.  The idea is that business leaders pay attention to not only their fiscal bottom line, but also their social and environmental bottom lines as well. That is, leaders focus attention on their corporate social responsibility (CSR) for the impact of company operations on the environment and on society and actively measure such impact.

COVID has made CSR more than good business sense.  It’s made CSR essential for business success, maybe even survival – a concept that no business leader can ignore.  It doesn’t matter if your business is small or large, public sector, private sector, or not-for-profit sector.  It doesn’t matter what goods and services you sell.  It doesn’t matter where in the world you are.  If you’re a leader, it’s up to you to provide CSR leadership.  Safety is embedded deep into customer requirements for being your customers. 

When you, as a leader, pay attention to safety from the inside out – the safety of your customers and community – your bottom line improves.  A few years ago, a consulting gig demonstrated that completely, even though the consultation had nothing to do with safety.

The CEO of a flame-retardant clothing manufacturer called me.  His executive team were fighting with each other.  Marketing thought they were the driver of business; Operations thought they were.  Business was suffering.  Could I help?  “Be as obstreperous as you like,” the CEO said, “just get them to work together.”  Well, you can’t turn down a consulting gig like that!

I met with the executive team – the CEO was right – no co-operation, no collaboration, no communication.  I asked them what the purpose of the company was.  Not the mission or the vision, but the reason for being.  The stared at me.  I pointed to the mission statement on the wall of the meeting room.  “To Be Number One”.  What does that mean, I asked?  Number one in what – sales, profits, market penetration?  And who says so – you, your customers, the Better Business Bureau? 

Team members couldn’t answer.  So, we moved on to other things, with that purpose question always at the forefront.  On the third day, one of the executive thumped on the table and said, “I’ve got it!  Our purpose is to save lives!”  They all looked at each other with surprise in their eyes, and then recognition of truth.  The discussion turned to how such a purpose translated into operations, into marketing, into sales, into everything.  With a common purpose in mind, the team members could create ways to work together, rather than trying to beat the “other side”. 

So where does safety come into this?  Well, a few weeks later, after I’d completed my work with the executive team, I ran into the CEO on the street.  “You know what was really great?” he said.  “My team started to focus on performance.”

He told me how their operations people were able to talk with the workers sewing the garments.  Instead of their past practice of rejecting sub-quality sewing, they could now say, “See this seam?” pointing to one that wasn’t sewn perfectly.  “That seam could kill someone.  It could cause terrible burns to someone.”  Now the front-line workers were paying attention to the new purpose statement for the company.  They began to pay more attention to their work, feeling proud that they were contributing to the safety of their customers, rather than frustrated that their work was rejected by their supervisors.  Their work became more meaningful, because the people who wore the clothes they made were relying on them to make clothes without flaws.  The safety of their customers became paramount. 

Performance improved, employee engagement improved.  Operations improved. Marketing started to promote their employees in marketing materials, featuring individuals sharing their pride in their work.  The CEO was sure sales would increase, employee morale would improve, and the financial bottom line would grow.  All because of a focus on safety from the inside out.

Let’s let it out.

Thank you Dr. Lee

If you have an interesting, fun, funny, sad, or otherwise engaging safety story, send it to me at Jason@relentlesssafety.com. Let’s all learn from each other!

If you’re new to this blog, let me introduce myself. My name is Jason. I’m a safety professional, podcast host, author, and world-renowned origami artist (that’s a lie). If you’re NOT new to this blog, go buy my book… it’s like this but multiplied by the power of unicorn tears. In any case, I hope you enjoy the content here. Please like, share, and join in the discussion as we all pursue Relentless Safety.

DON’T MISS THE LATEST EPISODE OF SJL!

Inigo Montoya: Safety Philosopher

Time for some real talk…

I sat in my bosses office that morning for my regularly scheduled weekly one-on-one. It was a big day. I had just spent the prior month writing, editing and designing a three hour leadership (not safety leadership, CLICK HERE TO SEE WHY) and was about to deliver it to him.

Which I did.

Then came the feedback.

“Jason, you’re a really great big idea guy,” he began. It was familiar territory. “But I really need to to work on follow through. An idea is only 2% of the work…” I’d heard it all before.

Now don’t get me wrong. He wasn’t completely off base. I’m big enough to admit that. But the irony (in a real sense, not the Alanis Morissette kind) of being told that after just delivering a completed project was kind of mind boggling in that moment.

That got me thinking

And listening.

The message didn’t line up with what was actually happening, so I decided to start listening to my boss a little more carefully. It was an experiment that I postulated only had two likely outcomes. I would either learn more about his style and grow to respect him or I would not. The result was the latter.

What I began to notice were his undertones. There was always something else in his message beside the message. For example, when a leader genuinely thanks workers for all their sweat and sacrifice in order to acknowledge that times are stressful, one does not need to end that thought with “but we have a business to run.”

Or justifying the decision to drug screen an employee for an incident by stating “well probably half of them are on drugs anyway.”

One of my favorites was “I don’t mind you doing all this writing stuff, but I don’t want you talking about anything at work.” That one made me giggle.

There were more examples of course, but I’ll leave it at that. The guy’s greed and slanted view of the people who worked for him was just gross. It doesn’t warrant the publicity.

Safety does it too

Think about your words next time there’s a “safety event.” Do you really care if someone’s in pain or are you just mad because of the extra work they just caused you? Are you interested in finding out what happened or is the employee just stupid enough to have let Darwin win? What about all those times that a leader really cares about safety by telling people that their incentive is being taken away because of a “bad” injury rate.

The long and short of it is that your intentions will always betray your words if the two aren’t aligned. Come to think of it, maybe that’s how they came up with the idea that actions speak louder.

We can always do better. Who’s with me?

If you’re new to this blog, let me introduce myself. My name is Jason. I’m a safety professional, podcast host, author, and world-renowned origami artist (that’s a lie). If you’re NOT new to this blog, go buy my book… it’s like this but multiplied by the power of unicorn tears. In any case, I hope you enjoy the content here. Please like, share, and join in the discussion as we all pursue Relentless Safety.

DON’T MISS THE LATEST SJL PODCAST!

My Wife Tried To Murder Me… With MURDER Scrub!

Coconut oil scrub to be exact, but first things first…

I’m a magnet for strange. Anyone who’s read many of my stories or my book knows that. In particular, I find that more strange things happen to me in public bathrooms than most. Take that as you will.

As proof, I could offer up THIS STORY about that one time I had to break into my house from a bathroom window. Or THIS ONE about a time when I saved a bee’s life in the most unexpected of ways.

I could even tell you about a time very recently when I visited a restroom and was interrupted by the patron in the stall next to me. Ordinarily I can get in “the zone” when I have business to attend to, but this interruption was legendary. Few sounds are as alarming to hear in a throne room than those of deep, guttural… snoring.

As you can see, I speak from a high level of authority when it comes to weird stuff (and bathrooms). Even if those stories don’t make my case, I’ve got more.

Let’s dig into my wife’s nefarious plot to bring about my demise

Let me start by saying, I love my wife. She is spectacular.

BUT…

If I end up dead/murdered (even though it would be the direct result of my antics) no one should ever consider it a mystery. I preemptively confess that my relentless pursuit (see what I did there?) of bigger, better, and funnier drove an otherwise rational and kind woman to rid the world of my idiocy.

And it’s not like she hasn’t come close before.

I swear it wasn’t me!

As it happens, she’s almost succeeded… accidentally. God help me if she ever tries.

At one point before the spawns were born (see HERE or HERE for more info) she was quite the crafter.

At that point in our marriage I had no reason to suspect any ill intent. We were still newly-wed-enough to believe married people like each other. Anyhoo…, when she proclaimed one day that she was going to start making sugar scrubs I told her she had my full support. They sounded delicious (I was wrong about that…). But they smelled nice and really do help with exfoliation.

Then I took a shower!

There was no Norman Bates in this story. The plot was much more simple. As it turns out, sugar scrub is MOSTLY made of coconut oil, not sugar!

Following her first foray into this new project, my wife had indulged in the exfoliating and moisturizing experience that is F@#$%&! sugar scrub for an undetermined amount of time. Once fully moistfoliated, she exited the shower and let me know it was my turn.

I don’t remember much after that except that I learned three things that day:

  1. Coconut oil is slippery as fuck!
  2. I can perform the splits.
  3. My wife is going to live much longer than me.

She totally wasn’t trying to kill me though. I think

Here’s where it gets… uh… slippery

If I replaced a few elements from that story with a few from your work environment, would your judgement of the circumstances change as well?

Let’s try:

  • My wife = trades-person (employee)
  • Sugar scrub in the shower = unapproved process (violation)
  • Me = “Safety Guy”

Now the story reads: “An employee was observed violating plant safety policy 2097.00987879.00887790880.xxv2 when she used an unapproved chemical to clean equipment. This resulted in a very serious near miss when the Safety Guy slipped in residual chemical. Disciplinary action is recommended.”

Maybe that’s a little far fetched… Maybe not.

What do you think?

If you’re new to this blog, let me introduce myself. My name is Jason. I’m a safety professional, podcast host, author, and world-renowned origami artist (that’s a lie). If you’re NOT new to this blog, go buy my book… it’s like this but multiplied by the power of unicorn tears. In any case, I hope you enjoy the content here. Please like, share, and join in the discussion as we all pursue Relentless Safety.

If You Don’t Agree, You’re As Dumb As A Flat Earther!

Believe it or not, that sentiment is how I met the one and only Clive F. Lloyd

Almost two years ago now, I was perusing around LinkedIn and found an interesting article. It was written by a VERY zealous guy about the “evidence” he’d stumbled upon proving that Behavior Based Safety was the best thing since Pavlov discovered Kibbles & Bits.

In it the man explained that he had just flown on an airplane. He then (illogically) concluded that since he had followed all of the airport’s boarding and security protocols, BBS was the only way to do safety.

I know. I didn’t get it either.

What stuck in my mind about it, though, was that he concluded in the article that if you didn’t agree with him, you might as well believe the earth is flat.

Enter Clive…

As I LOL’d my way through the comment section of the deranged man’s article, I stumbled upon a gem of a quote from none other than Clive Lloyd. I’m not going to repeat the quote here because it ended up in my book. You should go check it out and find out why the quote was so impactful for me.

As it goes, Clive and I developed a friendship through LinkedIn after I asked if I could include that quote in my book. Not only did he say yes to that request, but he actually volunteered to proofread the manuscript once it was finished. I have family members who won’t even do that!

Needless to say, his feedback was invaluable and helped me secure a publishing deal. Having him on one of my episodes of SJL Presents was the least I could do in return.

You will not be disappointed

In the episode, Clive and I cover a lot of ground. Particularly, he explains how to make a safer workplace physically by building trust psychologically. It was a great conversation and I’m beyond proud to share it with you.

If you’re new to this blog, let me introduce myself. My name is Jason. I’m a safety professional, podcast host, author, and world-renowned origami artist (that’s a lie). If you’re NOT new to this blog, go buy my book… it’s like this but multiplied by the power of unicorn tears. In any case, I hope you enjoy the content here. Please like, share, and join in the discussion as we all pursue Relentless Safety.

The Misadventures of Saf-T-Cat

I doubt any of you have ridden 14 miles under the hood of a Honda Civic…

They see me rollin…

Saf-T-Cat has. This is her story…

Don’t be dismayed that I’ve already given away the punchline. Sure, you’re wondering about Mouse’s (Saf-T-Cat) journey, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I’m going to fill in the details that lead up to it with stuff I “SHOULD” have noticed before I got to work. This story only makes sense in the light of hindsight.

The morning began like most others. I woke up late and rolled over to wake my wife up. She hit me, so I got up and took a shower. She was still asleep when I got out. Up to that point all was normal.

The dog was cuddled up next to my wife and our kitten Luci (short for Lucifer) was running round the bedroom flicking her tail and gurgling (she doesn’t meow) to signal she was hungry. Not inconsequentially, Luci also does that right before she darts between your legs to escape captivity. Mouse was not around, which was odd. Not odd enough for me to notice, though.

I groggily put on my clothes and headed to the kitchen. Luci followed, flicking the whole time so I fed her. Still no Mouse.

Meet Luci… The Devil

In my haste I retrieved a well-balanced breakfast of Monster and fruit snacks and headed to the car. I got in, started the engine and then sat in the driveway for a minute to pull up some music on my phone. My daughter came running out and tapped on the window to give me an Easter egg to take to work. It was suspiciously wet… on the inside.

Let’s rewind a little further

At this point it is important to note that my car, which is ordinarily parked in the garage, was in the driveway all night. Recently my wife purchased a new vehicle in preparation for the lease expiring on the SUV she’s been driving for the past three years. We were scheduled to turn it in this week, but as you might imagine, these strange times have made that difficult. So, we made arrangements with the dealership a few weeks ago to keep it parked in the garage until they can accept it. Thus, my car got the boot.

The night before, my wife and son had been in the garage organizing tools and cleaning supplies. It’s not unusual for the cats to wander out whenever someone is working in there, and everyone vaguely remembers both of them skulking around during the cleaning activities. That night, however, the garage door had been open due to my car’s newly downgraded status.

At bed time, the garage was closed up, the animals were ushered inside (or so we thought), and everything seemed normal. The next morning even seemed that way, despite Mouse’s absence. So, I cranked up the Taylor Swift and drove to work.

And then I realized how wrong I was

I pulled into the parking lot after what appeared to be an uneventful commute and took my time exiting the car. As soon as I did I heard the sound. A cat. From the sound of it a very scared one. The sounds appeared to be coming from my car, too. I doubted that was possible in the moment, given that I rarely trust my ears to tell the truth these days. So, I looked in a nearby bush. Nothing.

After a few minutes it was clear that the noise was indeed coming from my car. I just knew it was Luci. She’s jet black and very sneeky. I thought maybew she’d gotten into the trunk or was wedged under the back seat. But checking both of those places yeilded no results. There was only one place left… under the hood.

I popped the latch and propped it open expecting a fury of devil-kitten to come flying out at my unprotected eyeballs. Instead, I just heard more cries. Then… Mouse emerged from behind the engine. She had a small scratch on her nose, but was otherwise unharmed (physically).

This is the look give after riding under the hood for 14 miles

It should have never happened…

  • If I had been a more responsible pet owner…
  • If I had paid more attention…
  • If I had woken up on time…
  • If I hadn’t parked my car in the driveway…

Those are all statements I would expect to hear during a typical safety incident investigation. Often spoken by those who have no grasp of reality. The hard part is that those statements aren’t completely untrue. But even if any of those “if” statements had been true, they would not have guaranteed a different outcome.

The event was much more complex than my inadequacies. Unfortunately those are easier to identify than the deeper issues. Consider this:

  • The unfamiliar parking situation had unintended consequences that affected another process.
  • The cat dynamic in the house created a bias toward Luci as the doer of mischief, so no one considered Mouse might be outside.
  • My wife likes to organize (this is also a contributing cause for most of my lost items… jus sayin’).
  • The morning routine had no provisions for checking on the furry A-holes, only feeding them.

So here’s the end of the story:

Mouse died that afternoon 🙁

Mouse loved her safety vest… Seriously.

I’m totally kidding. She is fine. I’m surprised she is, but also incredibly happy. I would have been heartbroken.

The actual end of the story is that we learned A LOT from mouse riding under the hood of my car all the way to work. Not the least of which is that she is one lucky cat who lives on to share her safety message with any who would hear it:

Don’t blame the people who made mistakes. Figure out how to keep their mistakes from causing CATastrophe (sorry, couldn’t help myself). The more you do that, the less you’ll have to count on luck.

Here’s Mouse’s first on-screen adventure

See. She’s fine. Happy happy happy.

If you’re new to this blog, let me introduce myself. My name is Jason. I’m a safety professional, podcast host, author, and world-renowned origami artist (that’s a lie). If you’re NOT new to this blog, go buy my book… it’s like this but multiplied by the power of unicorn tears. In any case, I hope you enjoy the content here. Please like, share, and join in the discussion as we all pursue Relentless Safety.

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