Start Slow to Finish Strong

Start Slow to Finish Strong


March 2020
Workplace Safety Stories Motivation  

I love going to work from home in Halifax – especially when I get to visit with my friends at Exxon Mobil!  Over the past several years I’ve had the opportunity to share my story with them at many of their excellent Safe Starts and other internal Health and Safety events.  This is a company that strives for constant improvement.  Celebrating what is working well and then building upon it to make it better.   Each time I join them and sit and listen in on new safety developments I am always so impressed at their ability to keep their messaging consistent, yet new and exciting.

The last time I worked with Exxon Mobil the push was on to ‘Finish Strong’.  Meaning, even when the day is done, or a project is winding down – we don’t let our guard down – we stay the course to ensure that #nobodygetshurt.

While preparing my message this time,  I noticed they have added to their powerful message of Finish Strong.  Now, it’s “start slow to finish strong” – I love this!

A placard given to me by my late Grammy Mullin hangs on my wall.  It reads “the Hurrier I go the Behinder I get”, an ever-present reminder of my very special grandmother, and also to slow down.  It was the perfect accompaniment to complement my message for the morning.

I grabbed it off my wall as I walked out the door -and wrapped it up to protect it (which is what we should with things that are precious, dear to us and irreplaceable, right – like ourselves! How’d ya like my PPE metaphor;) and I brought it to share as a reminder that going fast rarely saves time.  In fact, rushing often causes stress, dangerous situations and sometimes results in injury.

Safety doesn’t have to be complicated – Grammy Mullin wasn’t – she knew that simply slowing down in life was one of the best ways to stay happy, safe, and focused on what matters most – being present and healthy to spend time with the people you’re really working for – your family!!


Candace Carnahan
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Because I Care.

Because I Care.

Because I Care


June 2019

The National Day of Mourning was last month. At the time, I shared some reflections.

Over the years I’ve also thought about this, and other,  “Days of…”, and how they do a very good job of raising awareness of a particular issue on a particular day. But the real work comes after the Day – and every day.

On the National Day of Mourning, I was flying to Ottawa feeling grateful for the dinner I had planned with Dee, one of my dearest friends from university – the kind of friend that you’re already all caught up with no matter how much time has passed between visits.  

We had plans to toast a new baby, new love, and mostly the gratitude that after all of these years, and busy lives, we still manage to make these impromptu dinners happen more often than not.

In the midst of libations and laughs, out of the corner of my eye and my ear I see the bartender standing on the top step of a ladder to reach a bottle high up.  The ladder isn’t all that high, and this everyday action may not even have registered had I not heard the co-worker caution her about the safety of being on the top rung. She responded somewhat jokingly, “What are you, the safety police.”

Her co-worker responded “Well yes, I’m on the JOHS committee, but that’s not the point. It’s because I care.”

Because I care…

My mile a minute chatter came to an abrupt halt.  Dee, knowing me very well, recognized the significance of this.  

I couldn’t really believe what I thought I had seen and heard, so as I sometimes do, I jumped into their conversation. “Did you just ask her to step down from that ladder and cite the reason as caring?”, I asked.

Yes, I had heard right.  

One of the questions I am asked most often is how to communicate discomfort about a situation, or to call out plainly unsafe behaviour to a co-worker in a manner that will be well received.  

While I struggle with the fact that people still take offence when someone makes the time to reach out in an effort to ensure their safety, I know that it’s still a reality.  

The question that I have struggled to respond to confidently for so many years had now been answered.  This was an interaction between two people that while very light in tone, held significant weight.

There are (and will) continue to be disagreement about what constitutes appropriate safety measures in the workplace. Personal safety is just that – personal.  But while ideas may differ, regulations are in place and they are there for a reason – and when the time comes that someone needs to be reminded, try using “Because I care”.



Candace Carnahan

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