The First Death of a Safety Professional

November 07 2022
By: Shawn M. Galloway

I recently had the privilege to dine at a wonderful family-owned restaurant, Abattoir Blues, in Sydney, Australia. In discussions with our server, we learned that when she was younger, she was accepted into Juilliard, where she studied ballet, later performing professionally across the United States until she lost her passion. As a result, her body was unable to perform. They call this The First Death of a Dancer.

The First Death of a Safety Professional

This first death concept I see often occurring within the safety profession. I have worked with wonderfully talented safety leaders who could no longer thrive. Their heart was no longer in it; they no longer felt valued or experienced a lack of support from management or the workforce. They observed a lack of genuine buy-in for safety improvement from those with fiduciary responsibility or witnessed investments in only the minimal necessary to stay off regulators' or clients' radars.

Safety as a career is a noble one, full of value. Consider the safety practices that were once viewed as acceptable, today we regard as unacceptable. While there will always be hazards and risks, think of how far we have progressed, and the value safety professionals have provided people on and off the job. Today, reflect on why safety is vital to the people you care about. More importantly, take the time to thank a safety professional; it might be the preventative measure needed to keep their passion alive.

"A dancer dies twice-once when they stop dancing, and this first death is more painful." — Martha Graham

"Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life." — Confucius

"If you work just for money, you'll never make it, but if you love what you're doing and you always put the customer first, success will be yours." — Ray Kroc

Shawn M. Galloway

Shawn M. Galloway is CEO of the global consultancy ProAct Safety. He is a trusted advisor, professional keynote speaker, and author of several bestselling books on safety strategy, culture, leadership, and behavior-based safety. He is a monthly columnist for several magazines and one of the most prolific contributors in the industry, having also authored over 700 podcasts, 200 articles, and 100 videos. Shawn has received awards and recognition for his significant contributions from the American Society of Safety Professionals, National Safety Council's Top 40 Rising Stars and Top Ten Speakers, EHS Today Magazine's 50 People Who Most Influenced EHS, ISHN Magazine's POWER 101 - Leaders of the EHS World and their newest list: 50 Leaders for Today and Tomorrow, Pro-Sapien's list of The Top 11 Health and Safety Influencers and is an Avetta Distinguished Fellow.

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