Celebrate your freedom, risk included
People are going to do all kinds of crazy things today in the name of celebration. Rightfully so. Independence Day is a huge deal in the States. Most of those crazy things will include some level of risk. I’m not going to give you the stereotypical “be safe around fireworks” spiel. Just be sure you keep your face out of the line of fire and bring an extinguisher. And never forget that your freedom came from some people who were willing to take great risks to win it.
I had a brief exchange online this week after a post encouraging others to do something that terrifies you. I had to drop it, because it’s not worth arguing with safety zealots (I talked about them extensively in my last post). My point, although entirely missed, is that avoiding all risk comes with a near perfect guarantee of little success.
That idea popped into my head earlier this week when my wife let me know that she has decided to try out for a local roller-derby team. I’ve been giving her a hard time about it, but in all truth, I think it’s awesome. She reminded me about the picture at the top of this post and asked me “if I’d be mad if she hurt herself.” My response to that (after thinking that I really must come off as a jerk sometimes) was to buy her some skates and tell her to go for it. Although I may have done that due to mild heat stroke because my air conditioning has been out all day and it’s 90+ in my house right now.
If you’ve ever wondered what 35 lbs falling on your toe feels like, ask my wife
She squeaked when it happened. Not exactly like a mouse or a dog’s chew toy, but it was a definite squeak. We were setting up for deadlifts at the gym and as she slid the 35 lb plate off of the rack, she looked up at me. When it reached the edge of the peg, her grip wasn’t firm enough and the plate guillotined her right big toe… SQUEAK.
Two things happened in the aftermath: First, the gym staff FREAKED out because they had never experienced a medical emergency of that scale (god help them if anything worse ever happens there). Second, Christmas was ruined (at least for my wife).
In turn, there are two things that I realized were directly related to safety success when you engage in a risky activity. As long as people lift weights, join roller-derby teams, and/or do fireworks there will be risk of injury. How you manage those risks to minimize consequences and how you respond to those consequences (if something bad happens) makes all the difference.
I’ll keep it short. Enjoy your risky Holiday fun.
At least have a plan, though. Whatever you’re doing this season, think through it and plan for the worst. I wish you the best and hope there will be no trips to the emergency room in your future. But if you think it through, at least you’ll know where the nearest one is. And don’t forget that fire extinguisher either.
Hi. I’m Jason. I’m the author of the book A Practical Guide to the Safety Profession: The Relentless Pursuit from CRC Press. I’m excited to get to share it with you all and hope it will be as valuable a tool to you as it has been to me. There is no other safety book out there like it. That’s not me being arrogant and assuming you’ll love it. You might not. But at least we’ll be able to have a needed conversation about the change needed in the safety profession. It is available now! Email me at Jason@relentlesssafey.com