My interest in safety began when I experienced a “near-hit” incident early in my engineering career, and when I realized how many of the equipment operators I had known were missing some of their digits. At that time of my life, I was enjoying playing piano and guitar, and I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to lose a part of a hand.
It became such an important issue for me that later in my career, when I had a team of about 80 people, I didn’t let a meeting go by without some discussion about safety and the importance of challenging each other over potentially unsafe behavior. One day I began talking about the cost of an accident and one of my people told me he thought that maybe that’s what I was concerned about, saving money. I replied that regardless of what you think of my intent, I offer every employee the opportunity to stop doing work they consider unsafe until we can mutually resolve the issue. How can that be a bad thing?
So at the risk of being all about the money, I recognize that sometimes saving a few bucks is a good motivator for folks. Here are a few ways in which safety can save you money!
- Practicing good methods around the house with knives, ladders, electricity and stairs can almost guarantee a much smaller chance of heading to the emergency room for a related accident. And under no current or emerging health plan would that be an economical chance to take.
- Keeping things clean and clutter free not only enhances the value of your home, but reduces the chance of injury and again, those same ER visits.
- Speaking of clutter, those partially used gallons of paint from all the projects you’ve done over the years could be a problem waiting to happen. Every year or so, someone in your area is having a free disposal day for items just like that. No cost to get rid of them, and no extra fuel for fire or explosion.
- You know that wobbly old step ladder you got from your grandparents’ house when your father helped them move to a smaller place? It might be the most expensive free thing you have in your house. Throw it away and buy a new one. Yes, this is going to cost you, but think of it as cost avoidance.
- Have a pest problem in your home? Hire a professional to take care of it. Again, this may sound like a cost, but when you start trying to handle this yourself you are starting by treating the symptom. You may not know where the nest or hive or burrow is. I watched a neighbor go after a hornet’s nest with a power washer one summer evening. It was hanging from a second story eave, just out of reach of the stream, so he imrpovised methods of positioning himself higher. He didn’t get stung at all, but he came so close to falling from the fence he was perched on and it would not have been a minor injury. He was lucky.
- I know you’ve heard this before, but check tire wear and inflation on all your vehicles regularly. Change those tires before they fail. Don’t wait until the day after the big rain storm when you lost control of the vehicle, do it now.
Safety, like quality, is free. Every dollar spent, along with the right discipline, will save you much more in the long run.
Thanks, and let’s be careful out there!
Anna at abdpbt is responsible for the effort to Fight Listless Mondays. Find other list links on her blog. Her lists and the others linked there always give you something to think about, and may even make you smile!