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What's been your number one safety lesson learned or aha moment?

  • 1.  What's been your number one safety lesson learned or aha moment?

    Posted 6 days ago
    Safety is mission critical to what we do and how we do it? Unfortunately, it sometimes takes a back seat to expediency or cost or lack of awareness or some combination of these factors. What's been your number one safety lesson learned or aha moment during your career? For me, it was the recognition that safety is not a bolt on, nor another improvement initiative, nor another process that has to be followed. Safety has be part of intrinsic part of how you think about tasks, how do your job, and as a leader, your words and actions. Working safety and keeping others safe has to be the cultural norm. For those new to safety or looking for a refresher of how it enters our work check out Optimizing safety through design. This short video touches on jobsite safety, prevention planning by design, use of technology to eliminate hazards, and the all important concept of safety leadership.

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    Mitch Winkler P.E., M.ASCE
    Houston, TX
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  • 2.  RE: What's been your number one safety lesson learned or aha moment?

    Posted 3 days ago
    The best book I ever read on this is from Charles Duhigg's: The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
    He actually uses the example of safety culture to explain the turn around of Alcoa and Paul O'Neill, CEO, offering a safety moment at the very first speech he made to staff as well as the investor community.

    The one area I find myself struggling with the most under pandemic work from home restrictions is eye strain. Make sure to consider the 20-20-20 rule (which I know I need to do a better job of!).

    • Take frequent breaks by using the "20-20-20" rule. Every 20 minutes look away from your screen and look at an object 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. This gives your eyes a chance to reset and replenish themselves.

    Lastly, know what LAGGING indicators to track to better understand performance of your LEADING indicators. The lagging often times are the low hanging fruit (lost time incidents, driving accidents, etc.) but it's the leading indicators that will move the needle for the organization.

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    Gary Hines P.E., M.ASCE
    Frisco TX
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  • 3.  RE: What's been your number one safety lesson learned or aha moment?

    Posted 3 days ago
    Safety is a core value and we should always promote a Safety Culture - at home, at work, and in everything we do.

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    Michael Kozinetz Aff.M.ASCE
    Construction Manager
    Murrells Inlet SC
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  • 4.  RE: What's been your number one safety lesson learned or aha moment?

    Posted 2 days ago
    • AHA! Moment:
    • Background:
      When we asked for another voice at a meeting of project managers,
      we learned that "Harry" could not be reached.

      When asked "Why?" I was told he was out in the field, some 475 miles or so away, going into underground facilities.
      "So can we call him?"
      "No, there is no signal down there."
      "Really? So if he falls, how does he let anyone know?"

      [ Imagine Harry did fall, couldn't move much, and its a Friday night.]

      Starting that very moment we:
      1. Sent a person to locate and speak with Harry.
      2. Worked with our corporate attorneys to fashion a "First Safety" Manual and Checklist.
      3. Required 100% attendance at in-house workshops (limited to 9 persons per workshop) on such matters.
      4. Never again allowed a person to go alone into potentially comprising environments.

      Stay Healthy!
      Cheers,
      Bill
      p.s. When the proposed "First Safety" project was initiated, we heard back from a number of
      engineers from "The Old School" that we should stay away from that as it may create liabilities for us.
      Our attorneys helped craft the doc so that it both raised awareness and pre-planed actions to prevent such accidents as descried above,
      and not inadvertently create new unintended liabilities. 


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    William M. Hayden Jr., Ph.D., P.E., CMQ/OE, F.ASCE
    Buffalo, N.Y.

    "It is never too late to be what you might have been." -- George Eliot 1819 - 1880
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  • 5.  RE: What's been your number one safety lesson learned or aha moment?

    Posted 2 days ago

    Bill, Thank you for sharing your experience. It highlights two well-known hazards that lead to injuries and fatalities: driving and confined space entry.  This trigged an opportunity for additional sharing of best practices from my experience working in the oil and gas industry.

    The oil and gas industry through the IOGP, its industry association, has developed a set of  lifesaving rules to protect workers from injury and save lives. More details can be found by clicking on this link. These rules while developed for the oil and gas industry equally relate in my view to hazards that found on civil engineering job sites. These rules are quite simple to follow and can be so impactful in protecting lives and ensuing everyone goes home to their loved ones at the end of their shift. '

    The rules include: 1) Bypassing safety controls, 2) Confined space, 3) Driving, 4) Energy isolation, 5) Hot work, 6) Line of fire, 7) Safe mechanical lifting, 8) work authorization, and 9) Working at height.



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    Mitch Winkler P.E., M.ASCE
    Houston, TX
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  • 6.  RE: What's been your number one safety lesson learned or aha moment?

    Posted 10 hours ago
    A few small examples - as an intern on multiple construction sites, I learned that each site had a different attitude towards safety.

    I recall one foreman instructing me to keep my safety glasses on, even though we were in an indoor part of the site where no work was being performed, and I was also already wearing my regular glasses.

    On another site, a contractor offered to help me get out of a trench I was inspecting by picking me up in the scoop of the backhoe!

    It took me some time to get a feel for the "right" level of safety at job sites where safety wasn't discussed up front. At my current job, those who go into the field have a designated safety officer that they must check-in with each day.

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    Christopher Seigel P.E., M.ASCE
    Civil Engineer
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