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Week of 6 April 2020: How appropriate--it is safety month!

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No, I am not going to give you another COVID-19 advisory. You have no doubt already read countless admonishments on that subject. You do need to take them seriously, of course. But at this point, for the literate and sighted part of the population, I say let Darwinism take its course--you have been warned. For the infirm, the weak, the young and the very old -be generous and help them out.

What is appropriate, though, in this first week of Safety Month, is to warn you about distractions. I can't think of another time in my nearly seventy years of life that I have ever seen the entire world focused on one subject as it is now. And, admit, it is a distraction. Distractions take our attention off safe practices.

Known objects of distraction include financial worries, health worries, job performance worries, worries about family members near and far and on and on.

Anecdotally, I have had one family member involved in an automobile wreck while returning from the hospital visiting another family member. I have heard of similar accidents happening to others.

In another instance, a construction leader walked off the end of a beam on a project. He was sixty feet in the air. Witnesses said it was not deliberate, he simply was not paying attention. Others said he was having marital problems at the time.

I suggest this, if you can do it. When you leave your home for work, the moment you step across the threshold on the way out, resolve to look forward to your work shift. Drive safely, looking towards your job. When you come through the mill gate, think about working safely. Practice what you have been taught about safety.

At the end of your shift, repeat the process. Except, as you walk out the mill gate, leave mill things behind you and concentrate on getting home safely.

Am I asking you to compartmentalize your life? Yes, when it comes to safety. Distractions that cause accidents, almost always by definition, are the result of not concentrating on what you are doing. Two other causes of accidents: inadequate training and being in a hurry.

I have seen a number of accidents over the years and have been involved in a number of accidents. I cannot think of one that does not fall in the categories I have mentioned above. I have twice, sixteen years apart, nearly totaled cars that I had owned for less than two weeks while driving home from work. Yes, a new car can impart a sense of invincibility with the added danger of distracted playing with the new and unfamiliar gadgets at your fingertips.

So, for safety this week, focus on focus. Whatever you are doing, make sure you are fully engage in the activity, trained to do the job, and proceeding slowly. As an example, take the relatively simple tasks of falling down the stairs. In my own experiences, there have been only two reasons that has happened--trying to carry too many things in one trip or hurrying and not concentrating on where I place my feet. As an older person, it now hurts when I fall, so I pay a lot more attention than I did when I was younger! Look at the simple tasks around you--which ones do you do without thinking that can cause you harm if misdone?

Be safe and we will talk next week.


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