Let’s put the power of 5,000 workplace fatalities to work
December 21, 2016 1 Comment
A longtime friend and bandmate of mine is one of the best songwriters you’ll probably never hear of. He’s a newspaper-reporter-turned-teacher who once believed in the power of the pen to make the world a better place. So it’s no surprise that his songs typically opine on a hot button political issue or expose some social injustice. Simply put, they make you think.
I’m thinking a lot about workplace fatalities, thanks to this line from one of my friend’s recent numbers:
“Not much can be done to write the wrongs now. The best you can do is write the wrongs down. If you keep them inside, they’ll drive you berserk. I say take their power and put it work.”
Approximately 5,000 Americans die in on-the-job accidents each year. Their stories are sufficiently “written down” by the media, industry publications and even bloggers like me. A quick scan of the news turns up headlines like “OSHA investigating fatal trench collapse,” “Colleagues struggle after deadly workplace shooting” and “Contractors cited after worker dies on first day.”
We’re all busy, and we can’t possibly digest social media’s daily information dump in its entirety. So we skim these stories at best, shake our heads and say, “Someone should do something about that.”
Then we go on with our lives. After all, it’s not our problem. Workplace accidents are best left to the experts.
But what if we changed our paradigm?
What if we took time to read about these tragedies and, instead of passing the proverbial buck, looked for the lessons in them? And what if we went a step further and considered how we could apply those lessons in our own workplace?
What if, as my friend suggests, we put the power of 5,000 workplace fatalities to work?
There’s a good chance someone will die in a workplace accident while you’re reading this post. By the end of the day, 13 workers will perish. But their stories have the power to live beyond today’s blink-and-you-missed-it news cycle. If you believe that, you’re not alone.
Texas Mutual measures success not in profit margins and balance sheets, but in lives saved. For us, strong financial results are a means to the ultimate end: helping every worker get home safely at the end of the day.
Our 30-plus safety consultants have seen every type of workplace accident. They’ve dedicated their lives to extracting the lessons from those accidents and sharing them with anyone who will listen.
If you are among the 66,000 employers who protect your business and your employees with a Texas Mutual policy, I’m singing to the choir. If you’re not, we’re still here for you. From free regional safety courses to statewide workshops to online resources, Texas Mutual is on a mission to prevent workplace accidents and minimize their consequences.
Before I sign off and send you into a happy, healthy and safe holiday season, I want to issue a challenge.
The stories of those 5,000 workers who die each year aren’t written by some anonymous author working under an obscure pen name. They are written by executives, supervisors and front-line employees, and they play out in oil fields, manufacturing shops and within the confines of seemingly safe office environments every day.
No matter what role you play in your organization, you have the power to write a new story. I challenge you to exercise that power.
Wherever your career aspirations take you in 2017 and beyond, Work safe, Texas.