Blog Authors: Paul Gantt, CSP and Ron Gantt, CSP, ARM
This is the final section in our series of the SafetyDNA S.A.F.E. model, Exhibits Caution. To help illustrate this factor, let me share a simple but telling story about my two young sons. One day, my wife and I were walking with them on a dirt road after a heavy rain, which had resulted in large puddles everywhere. My oldest son, who was five at the time, asked how deep the puddles were and what would happen if he stepped into one. Given some of the large potholes that formed these puddles, I responded, “It’s best to stay away from the puddles, you never know how deep they are.” As we walked along the road, it was interesting to see how he very carefully and painstakingly worked to avoid each puddle, sidestepping the small bodies of water as if they held deadly landmines. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw my 3-year-old take great delight as he devilishly ran for a head start, planted his feet and propelled himself as far as he could into the largest puddle in the road, creating quite a giant splash as he laughed out loud and got mud all over his newly washed pants (much to my wife’s chagrin).
Over the past few blogs, we’ve been talking about our SafetyDNA S.A.F.E. model. This model identifies four individual characteristics that contribute to one’s safety potential: Stays in Control, Awareness, Follows Rules and Exhibits Caution. Today we’ll take a closer look at following rules.
Rules have a bad reputation. Unless you’re the one who is setting the rules or charged with enforcing them, no one really likes rules. This is especially true when it’s a rule you don’t
necessarily agree with or see the value of. Some rules make perfect sense, like don’t drink poison. Other rules are less clear, like don’t walk on the grass. What’s wrong with that, you may ask? I like walking on fresh green grass. But, if everybody did it (one of your mother’s favorite sayings no doubt), soon the grass would be worn to nothing but dirt.
In a previous blog, we discussed how individual characteristics can contribute to how safe an individual is. We presented the SafetyDNA S.A.F.E. model of safety. The first characteristic in this model has to do with Staying in Control. That is, being responsible for what happens in your life and keeping control of your emotions when faced with an unsafe or potentially unsafe situation.
At some point in our lives, and potentially multiple times, all of us are likely to suffer an injury, whether at work, at play, or at home. Many of the “accidents” that lead to those injuries are preventable. Some accidents happen because we didn’t do what we knew we were supposed to do. Other times they happen because we were in too much of a hurry and rushed into a situation that we normally would have avoided. Still other times we simply weren’t paying attention to what we were doing and we paid the price for our inattentiveness. The bottom line is that accidents happen all the time and for many reasons. But many of them aren’t really “accidents” at all. They are the result of decisions we made, consciously or unconsciously, which lead to behaviors we took, intentionally or unintentionally.