The commitment to safety across an organization comes from the top down. However, regardless of the safety mandate (or culture, vision – call it what you will) that a company commits to, success hinges heavily on the attitude toward safety that we form in our home, from a young age, that follows us along to work.
I came from a small town, where I lived on the outskirts – a place where everyone knew everyone and worry wasn’t a word in my vocabulary.
If you’re of a certain age, and from a certain place, you’ll remember a time where “safety” meant something entirely different that it does today. Safety meant sitting, not standing up on the bed of the half tonne truck when it was moving. Helmets were reserved for motorized vehicles only, and just sometimes.
Safety was, for the most part, a choose your own adventure exercise. I still refer to those days as being “good old” – but that’s only because we got away with whatever rules we were breaking without too many scrapes and bruises.
In those days, you may recall, “if it wasn’t broke, then you didn’t need to fix it.” But boy, if something was broken, you could bet your bottom dollar that you were going to fix it – after all, money didn’t grow on trees.
What my younger self would have certainly believed did grow on trees, was duct tape. The silver rolls of magic adhesive seemed to be around no matter where we were, and it was the solution for whatever needed to be “fixed”.
I have vivid memories of my father picking at the tape where it had stuck to the roll, ripping a piece off, and then tearing it with his teeth. Then he would tap the tape into place, and smooth it one last time before nodding his head with satisfaction – declaring with a nod, “that’ll hold”.
Now, if whatever was broken belonged to me, I would want to know for just how long, exactly?
So my question to my father would be, “till when, Dad”? To which he would answer with a wink and a smile, “until it doesn’t”.
If you’ve heard me speak of my father, you will know that it was him who hung the moon – my faith in his ability to protect me and fix things was unshakable – still is.
I look back fondly on these memories; and I also look at these memories as metaphors in life. I have the ability to parlay just about anything into a safety message.
So today I ask you to consider your life, your surroundings, your tools and household items, even your relationships.
What have you “patched up” that should really be replaced?
What issues within yourself or with others have you been allowing to hang on for too long, hoping they might just fix themselves?
What conversations that you know you need to have, with yourself or someone else, have you been putting off, hoping someone else does the heavy lifting for you?
What’s your “it’ll hold”?
I challenge you to ask yourself that question, because while duct tape may be considered the ultimate fix – the fact of the matter is that just like everything else in our lives that needs fixing’…
“It’ll hold….but only til it doesn’t”.