June 10 2020
By: Terry L. Mathis
Human beings tend to remember significant events in their lives very clearly. They remember details of what happened, where they were and how they heard about it. When we interview workers, we find that they best remember the accidents that caused the most severe or spectacular injuries. In the lives of this generation of workers, COVID-19 may be that significant event that monopolizes much of the bandwidth of their memory. It may also produce an ongoing sense of vulnerability to invisible threats to health and life.
In safety, it is good to begin with the big risks as long as our focus does not end there. Excellence in safety usually results in constantly expanding knowledge of risks and how to deal with them. In general, workers don't get hurt by what they are focused on; they get hurt by the risks that seem less significant or by the ones that don't seem to present a personal danger to them. We need to learn our safety lessons from this pandemic but be careful not to let our learning stop there.
Terry Mathis, Founder and retired CEO of ProAct Safety, has served as a consultant and advisor for top organizations the world over. A respected strategist and thought leader, Terry has authored five books, numerous articles, videos and blogs, and is known for his dynamic and engaging presentations. EHS Today has named him one of the '50 People Who Most Influenced EHS' four consecutive times. Business leaders and safety professionals seek Terry's practical insight and unique ability to introduce new perspectives that lead to real change.