What Game of Thrones Taught Me About Safety

Hopefully my writing is better than Season 8… Jus’ sayin’

Prepare for the end!

Since I haven’t mentioned it in this blog before (or if you’re not one of my ten regular readers), I should mention that I’m a pretty huge Game of Thrones fan. I’d rate myself a 7 on a 1-10 scale of Westerosi geek. And just for honesty’s sake I’ll come clean and admit I’m not a fan of books, they gave me anxiety. So, you can take my analysis with a grain of salt if you’re a more die-hard fan than I am.

Specifically, I have been a fan of the HBO TV show for the past few years, having gone through the first seven seasons three times. For me, the allure was in the writing, cinematography, and subtle nuance the show-runners put in every episode. It was one of those shows that transported you to another place. Was being the operative word.

Don’t worry… there won’t be any spoilers in this post. I prefer to let anyone who hasn’t watched the final season imagine how bad it might be for themselves. Doing that will provide you with more entertainment than any of this season’s episodes that have aired thus far. Anyway, it all ends tonight (thank God).

But I just want to keep going…

Yesterday I was clicking through recent videos on my YouTube subscription list and happened upon one of many GoT finale prediction videos. The creator mentioned with some sadness that he hoped to continue making videos after the show ended but didn’t know what that looked like. Since his channel is entirely devoted to the show, it seemed like a hopeless proposition. Believe it or not, though, I can relate to the feeling. Perhaps you can too.

What I’m getting at is the idea of keeping safety “fresh.” I mean, there’s not all that much new material out there in this field. Sure, OSHA updates a regulation on crystalline silica once every 30 years or so, but that’s not really something that excites the average Joe.

The YouTuber who’s struggling with trying to come up with new material is only just now experiencing what every safety professional has been plagued with for years. The only difference is that “safety” doesn’t have a finite, predetermined ending (that’s a good thing by the way).

I’m talking, no one’s listening

One of my earliest experiences in this field was on a construction “mega project.” I was young, ambitious, and inexperienced. In spite of that fact, I was told to go out on site and lead a weekly safety walk. The process dictated that I was to kick off the walk each week with a focus topic.

Within two weeks of the assignment, I came to loathe the task. The first problem was solely a personal one, given that I didn’t believe I had a worthwhile message to share with people who had far more experience than me. That insecurity was impossible to mask. It was also a chip on my shoulder that I needed to get over before I could realize my real potential (maybe you’re in the same boat).

The second problem was the task itself: talking about something new every week. I didn’t realize until years later that very few others gave nearly as much consideration to the topics as I did. Had I known that, I may have mustered more confidence. But, I digress. I put a great amount of emphasis on making an impact. Identifying topics that supported that endeavor was a huge challenge (and still is).

So here’s what I’ve learned

Since I started this post about Game of Thrones, I’d be remiss if I didn’t connect the dots. Here’s what the show taught me about safety:

  • Be consistent:
    • Like it or not, people crave stability. The truth is you don’t have to make safety new or fresh. It just has to be impactful. GoT had impact until it’s final season. People are giving up because (my opinion) the writers got lazy with the end. The same thing will happen if we get lazy with our safety programs.
  • People who aren’t invested don’t care:
    • THIS ARTICLE is an example of just how much people don’t care. If you don’t get personal investment in safety, the result will be similar. How many outspoken “crusty old guys” have you met in your career who want to argue non-stop about how pointless safety is and try to prove their case by stating they’ve never gotten hurt before?
  • People want to feel connected:
  • No one lives up to the hype
  • Execute those who betray you: No, sorry. That’s for a different blog.

So that’s it for now. If the episode lets you down tonight, at least you’ll have something else to talk about with your viewing party guests. Who doesn’t enjoy a nice intellectual conversation about safety on a Sunday evening, right? In any case, have a great week.

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