Week of 12 April 2021: The Extremes of Safety--Excitement

Jim Thompson

Week of 12 April 2021: The Extremes of Safety--Excitement | Nip Impressions, Jim Thompson, quality, industry, safety, energy, environment, innovation, energy, maintenance,

Email Jim at jim.thompson@ipulpmedia.com

One of the most dangerous times, at work, home or wherever is when we get excited. When excited, we often don't think about safety.

How many times when you were small, did your parents tell you to watch out for cars when you cross the road or a street? My guess would be hundreds of times before you were even in the first grade. Cars are dangerous and cannot stop easily.

When I was in the grades and lived in the city, there were still grocery stores on nearly every corner. Being in southwestern Ohio, our baseball team was the Cincinnati Reds, actually called the Cincinnati Red Legs in those days. Of course, there were bubble gum packs with baseball cards in them.

I don't remember exactly what the deal was, but if you happened to open a pack of baseball cards and there was a full team picture in it, there was some premium you could get. Each bubble gum pack had two or three cards in it. Everyone wanted the team picture card.

Going back to school after lunch, a couple of us boys stopped at the local store to get a pack of gum and pray there was a team picture in it. On this particular day, we came out of the store with our packets and were opening them as we crossed the street (the street's real name? Race Street, I kid you not). Anyway, as I opened my packet of cards, there was the coveted team picture. I am in the middle of the street, dancing around, not paying attention to anything else--and here comes a car, brakes screeching. I was nearly hit.

I knew what to do, had been told it a thousand times, but in the moment, I forgot. It could have turned out very badly for me that day had that driver not been paying attention. My safety had moved from my control to the automobile driver.

How many times have you come into the mill excited (perhaps by the traffic you had just driven in)? How many times have you left the mill excited, with plans to go on vacation or do something else exciting when you got off shift that day?

We stress safety first, but when we get excited we can briefly forget it and it is that brief moment that causes us to be in peril.

How do we fix this? Really put safety first in our minds, all the time. Talk to your coworkers constantly about safety. In the mill and offices, move the safety signs around. Often, they have been in the same place since the mill was built.

For safety this week, find a new place to put a safety sign.

Be safe and we will talk next week.

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