Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Prediction: "A Perfect Storm"

This title is in reference to a popular movie awhile back about a ship wreck where all the conditions were "just right" for a disaster. Today in our required "Safety Meeting" from our Parent Company Weyerhaeuser called "Lessons Learned Too Late" referred to this "Perfect Storm" concept many times. It showed six accidents involving fatalities where conditions and lack of following "proper safety procedures" were evident. It was pretty sobering. They were all "out in the field" or at construction sites. One was in Mexico and in Espanol. They all involved company employees, some who didn't or couldn't help out in time to save the victim.

We were then led in a lively and serious discussion of: What highly hazardous situations do we work around in our areas and sites? What 2 or 3 activities that we do could cause serious injury? What can we do as individuals, as team members, as a site, to reduce the risks of injury and accidents? What 2 or 3 key things are we going to do to implement to reduce risk? What will the action plan be and how will we track completion? What is stopping us from intervening when one of our co-workers is putting themselves at risk?

We had mostly representatives from the sales offices there and the typical hazards were mentioned. It got more heated and passionate when going out on the worksites were mentioned. One of the issues with the most concern was: finding "subs working on Sundays in the models and homes without the proper safety equipment and procedures". Many do not speak English and don't seem to understand when they are told to be "mas cuidado" and "alto!"
Their only concerns seem to be..."catch up...we are behind the schedule" I saw this at Pulte worksites also. In some cases these "subs" were trying to get and stay ahead of the schedule for next week. Short-cuts could be taken in such circumstances, things/procedures forgotten and then you might "predict: a perfect storm" senario...

When our buyers come in and request hard hats to visit their homesites mainly on "visiting day" Sunday precautions are not always followed or observed by them. Proper footware is rarely worn. Many are going out unaccompanied or without even checking into the sales office.

Many suggestions were offered and written down. My suggestion was to "stage" or "role play" a "mock disaster or situation" so we would know what to do and what is expected of us as employees who care about each other. "R.A.D.A.R." Was emphasized and was our quiz question when the video was over. It stands for: "Recognized the potential hazardous situation developing" "Assess the situation ie. what have you got to hinder or help" "Develop a plan to handle it" "Act to stop it immediately" "Record the outcome".

I think I'll go back to my office and remove those boxes of big envelopes above my desk area. I was on the phone last week when the latest earthquake hit. I didn't think to dive under my desk but was heading out the door. It was over before I got there, but I passed under those boxes. The injuries wouldn't be all that serious but you never know...Bob


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