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

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.

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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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Safety Isn’t Good (at) Business

Thanks to Dave Collins for this pic

But we’re really good at pointing at things…

You haven’t lived until you have a conversation like they one I’m about to share with you. To set the mood, let me take you back to 2008…

The Black Eyed Peas just told you that tonight’s gonna be a good night. You just texted your girlfriend from your Motorola Razr about the Spaghetti Cat bit you watched on The Soup last night. Then, as you set aside thoughts of redesigning your MySpace page, your boss walks over and gives you the news. Today is going to suck regardless of how tonight turns out.

The boss just informed you that your assignment for the day is to walk the contractor safety reps around a 2-million square foot construction site to show them safety hazards. More specifically, electrical ones.

This particular site had been deluged by unexpected monsoon weather and more than a few things were under water. As it happened, one of those “few” things just so happened to be… the entire bottom floor and basement of the facility. The GC on that job had bet on their expectations of good weather and begun finishing interiors before the building had a roof. They had lost in a MAJOR way. To say there was tension in the air would be… accurate.

And THEN… Safety arrived to save the day… point at extension cords

Some very concerned administrative folks who’d been riding along that morning on the Project Manager’s windshield tour of the damage had informed us that there were… wait for it… Extension cords sitting in water.

Now, I’m going to make light of this hazard for the rest of this post. I’m not going to say it wasn’t a real hazard, but seriously… bigger fish. If you’re not comfortable with that, I suggest you go listen to Episode 100 of the Drinkin’ Bros Podcast to find out what uncomfortable really feels like.

In general, the idea of extension cords being immersed in water, though not something I would advise, does not rank incredibly high on my pucker meter. I’m sure there will be more than a few who disagree with that, and that’s fine. You being wrong doesn’t change the message of this little story.

The issue in this story doesn’t have as much to do with the magnitude of the hazard as it does the reasoning for which the hazard needed to be removed. That reason, as you might guess, was “because OSHA said.” To the contractors who were already dealing with the water crisis in other ways that only meant diverting time and resources to something that just wasn’t the issue of the day. Safety hadn’t changed that opinion based on the four letter “O” word.

So, I spent the rest of that day (minus the 25 minute lunch break I took to run home and get dry pants), trudging through nearly foot-high water pointing at every extension cord covered by H2O. Oh, and don’t think I forgot about that little “conversation” I mentioned at the beginning. It went like this (hundreds of times that day):

Me (pointing at a submerged extension cord): That one.

Contractor: Why?

Me: Seriously?

Contractor: Yeah.

Me: IT. IS. UNDER. WATER.

Business… we’re seriously not good at it

Ok, that’s a broad generalization, but I’m standing by it. Because even the best among us… the Safety Pro who can sell safety based on an iron-clad ROI. That guy. Even he has missed one key ingredient at least once. We all have.

We’re all guilty of pulling safety out of the work process at least once. How many administrative processes have we thrown in people’s faces “just to ensure” they do the “safety” step? How many unnecessary forms have we created and required without knowing how the work works? Which revision of the site safety manual are you currently updating to distribute to the workforce along with a sign-off sheet they have to sign for acknowledgement?

Now ask yourself two questions: How many of those things made someone safer? & How much more effective might those endeavors have been if you could show your organization how to accomplish safety without impeding their work? Think about what that ROI would look like with that little detail included.

In the case of the watery extension cord saga, the contractor was pretty well justified in considering the wet cords a risk worth taking. According to Safety the only thing at stake was the remote possibility someone would get shocked and the even remoter possibility that OSHA would magically appear and unleash the fury at that very moment.

But what if we had helped them with their problem in exchange for some help with ours? Better still, what if we had shown them that their work could be done more safely and efficiently if they corrected the hazard?

How do we get better?

Think about it like this. Have you ever seen an extension cord explode, electrocute a puppy, burn down a building, or turn an average Joe into a super villain because it got wet? I haven’t. And I’ve seen a shit-ton of them (see above). Does that mean they’re not hazardous? Of course not. But it’s not one of the risks that makes me loose sleep. I doubt someone who’s job isn’t SAFETY even thinks about it. If they do, it’s highly likely they consider it a costly nuisance.

So here’s the challenge: If your job requires you to convince someone to do something they think will cost them [anything], you need to find a better way to persuade than telling them they might (in some non-quantified way) experience some level of undesired consequences up to and including death or termination (whichever comes first). Rather than adding roadblocks to the work, find a way to add value. That’s what I think every time I see an extension cord.

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.

Please follow and share Relentlessly:
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