Posted by: penpatience | February 2, 2013


SI Exif

New News: “Greenest Grass,” fiction short story now published in the January/February 2013 Long Story Short E-zine.

February 2013 Monthly Musing

It Happened by “Accident”

 It happened by accident. What began as responsibility for employee safety ended in the creation of a safety monster – ME.

During many years of human resources managerial responsibilities, the implementation of safety programs and employee safety often fell within my job descriptions. A results oriented professional, I was a reluctant participant; safety programs were not a priority in many organizations.  Because it was a priority in my companies, I threw myself into the task, designed a safety program and named it “Safety First.” I ran an employee contest awarding a $50 dinner prize for the employee(s) that designed a working safety slogan.  “S.A.F.E.-Safety Awareness First Everyday” won the dinner prize for two employees submitting identical slogans. I researched and wrote safety bulletins with topics ranging from manufacturing “Lockout-Tagout” instructions to shutting off coffee urns in the break room. Accolades followed. Employees remained safe and our company safety rankings were the envy of other subsidiaries within the firm. However, long after I left employment safety responsibilities, safety habits didn’t leave me. Safety awareness crept into my consciousness and became entrenched in my psyche. Not only did I become a safety advocate, I became a safety royal pain in the butt.

I won’t ride in a car with someone who has been drinking. I will not tolerate a driver speaking on a cell phone (hands free cell phone still involves concentration and attention to conversation at the expense of the driving task) while I’m in the car. No one dares phone TEXT when I’m in their vehicle. A snowbird during the winter months in Southeast Florida “Staying Alive on ‘95” is a challenge. When two-wheeled scooter- cycles whiz by crossing four lanes of highway I call in the offender to the FHP (Florida Highway Patrol) as soon as possible. Dangerous and careless drivers endanger everyone’s kids, grandkids, friends and families who utilize this high traffic corridor. I’m proud to say I’ve never had a moving violation in all the years I’ve held a drivers license.

When I sit down to write, I sit in an investment that’s paid for itself many times over—an ergonomic chair. Writers sit and write for long periods deep in thought before taking a break. An ergonomic work station is an office worker necessity and a writer’s greatest physical support; a gift that keeps on giving whether it’s a great or mediocre writing day. When I get up every morning I plant my feet firmly on the carpeted floor, count my blessings and automatically grasp the staircase rail as I head downstairs to make my morning coffee. The safety habits learned through year of safety training exposure remain deeply embedded in everyday activities.

Safety professionals will tell you that all “accidents” are preventable. They are.

Whether you’re getting up from an ergonomic chair (remember they have wheels) or driving down formidable I-95, with careful and attentive safety habits you can remain S.A.F.E. (Safety Awareness First Everyday.)  Become a Safety Monster.  Family, friends and co-workers will thank you for it!

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