Imagine you are lying in a hospital bed. You stare ahead at the typical, Wisconsin hospital room. Overhead fluorescent lights, medical equipment near the wall, a monitor and keyboard for the doctors or nurses, maybe a whiteboard with your name and some other details of your condition.
Your condition. You remember why you are lying there in that bed. You fell while at work while engaging in some form of construction. How did you fall? Literally there could be a thousand and one ways. Imagine the doctors telling you that your spine suffered damage as a result of that fall. You may never walk or stand again. Forever.
Even worse, it was your first day on the job.
Imagine how many times your mind would replay the last few minutes prior to your injury. The playful banter with you coworkers, the trivial concerns about when you would eat lunch or the Packers’ chances this fall.
What would you give to go back, five minutes before your fall and do things differently. Better planning, better equipment, better training, whatever would have made a difference. Thousands, if not millions of dollars will be devoted to now providing you with some “quality of life” that will always be less than what you had before at seemingly no cost at all.
That is part of the problem. Safety seems to cost nothing, so employers often scrimp on spending, believing that they haven’t had a problem, so they must be safe. But safety is an ongoing, ever-present demand. You don’t just have one training and then ignore it the rest of the year.
This week marks National Safety Stand-Down, an effort to get employers to recognize and remind workers of the threat posed by falls and that fall prevention and safety need to be an everyday practice. Because there is no going back.
Source: blog.dol.gov, “The Fall That Changed Everything,” Nicholas DeJesse, April 26, 2016