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Luck Runs Out

We live in a world where we are often pressured to take shortcuts to save time and cut costs as much as possible. However, the wrong shortcut could end up costing a lot more.

Everyone takes a shortcut at one time or another. You cross the street between intersections instead of using the crosswalk or jump a fence instead of using the gate. But in many cases, a shortcut can involve danger.

If you have the habit of taking dangerous shortcuts, break it. At work or at home, it can be deadly.

10 Dangers of Shortcuts

1. Not all shortcuts are shortcuts. Lack of understanding of a problem or solution leads many to falsely assume they have found a shortcut. Instead, they convinced themselves of a costly fallacy.

2. Shortcuts often depend on luck. Winning the lottery is a shortcut to wealth IF and ONLY IF you win. Most that play the lottery never find this shortcut to be to their advantage. Counting on luck to be your shortcut usually leads to a future pain.

3. Shortcuts are often based on laziness, not reality. Avoidance of effort is ingrained in many people. They often look not for the best answer, but the lowest effort they can “get by with.”

4. Shortcuts are often based in ignorance, not understanding. In a rush to a fast or cheap solution, many refuse to make the effort to understand their needs or the cost of the solution.

5. Shortcuts may simply leave most of the work for the next person. Sure this approach seems easy but it is not much of a shortcut for your staff, your partners, or your clients if they have to pick up your slack. This is not a good way to win or keep friends and supporters either.

6. Some shortcuts just don’t work. After all, if shortcuts always worked, they wouldn’t be shortcuts, they would be the way it’s always done.

7. Searching for shortcuts can sometimes be more work, not less. I know people that are so focused on working to get free stuff they work harder for it than just earning it. I’ve never seen them realize that at some point free isn’t really free if it takes more work.

8. Shortcuts do not mean incomplete is acceptable. Skipping important steps just leads to eventual failure and the need to do the task all over again (if you even get that opportunity).

9. A shortcut mentality can develop bad habits. When the common focus becomes finding shortcuts instead of finding ways to be successful, the wrong habits can develop and undermine our true goals.

10. There is big money in selling shortcuts. We see many businesses that gladly sell short-term shortcuts to those anxious for a magical, quick answer that makes them feel good. While not our business approach, these companies are filling a genuine market and emotional need even though the long-term outcome is usually very unpleasant for all involved.

Even if the job will only take a few minutes, it isn’t worth risking your safety and health for those few minutes. Wear personal protection to safeguard your body parts. Use proper, well-maintained equipment. Don’t improvise to save time. Ladders, steps, and walkways are built to insure your safety, as well as for your convenience. Use them. Don’t go from one elevation to another by climbing a column or sliding down a rope. The safest way isn’t always the shortest way, but it’s the surest way.

How long will you trust luck in your life? How long will you gamble by skipping pre-ops or safety steps that seem unnecessary or that seem to slow you down?

Trust me, luck always runs out. Safety is worth the time and effort every single time. Err on the side of safety, rather than gambling on speed. It could save your life. Or at least save your life as you know if today.

There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.

Rolling The Dice

Have you ever made a decision to break a safety rule? How long did it take for you to reach that decision? What did you gain by taking a chance? It only takes a moment to decide to break a safety rule, yet that one moment could change your life forever.

Today’s newsletter offers you an opportunity to think about your personal safety behavior, both on and off the job. We’ll talk specifically about taking chances, your personal commitment to safety and what you can do to keep that commitment strong.

Do you always work safely? Are you 100% committed to the safety of yourself, your co-workers, friends, and family? Are there times when your commitment to safety is not as strong as it should be? Have you been taking chances and getting away with it? Don’t expect your luck to hold. No one ever plans an accident.

An accident, by definition, is an unplanned event. No one wakes up in the morning and drives to work thinking, “I will have an accident today so I’d better buckle up.” No one ever climbs to the very top of a ladder and knows for sure they won’t fall.

That’s why it’s so important to have a personal commitment to safety; a commitment to do the right things to prevent an accident–or minimize the damage done in case an accident does occur.

What is gained by taking a chance? Think about a time when you’ve risked your personal safety. Have you ever bypassed lockout-tag out procedures? Have you ever driven a car after you had too much to drink? Have you failed to use fall-protection equipment because it was just too much trouble? What did you gain in that situation?

A minute of time, an ounce of convenience? Now honestly ask yourself if those gains were worth it. Is a little bit of time or convenience really worth chancing electrocution, a car accident, or a bad fall?

Don’t sacrifice your healthy future by taking a chance Every time you’re tempted to take a chance with your safety ask yourself if it’s really worth the risk.Your family and friends will thank you for making the right decision.

Keeping a strong commitment to safety is not easy. What interferes with your commitment to safety? Is peer pressure a problem? Do your peers think it’s silly to take time for safety? You can set a safe example for your peers.

Consider taking a stand for safety. By committing to safety 100% of the time, you can help reverse the peer pressure that sometimes causes unsafe behavior. Keep up this exemplary behavior. Someday you may find that the old peer pressure has given way to something new-the respect of your peers earned by setting a safe example.

It’s normal for your commitment to safety to fluctuate. Sometimes it’s strong, at other times it’s weak. Unfortunately, it tends to be strong just after a close call, or perhaps for a few days after you hear of an accident. Then the commitment wanes, only to be strengthened again by another tragedy. Simply recognizing this pattern can help you avoid it.

Think about your work habits. Have there been times when you’re more likely to take a chance? How about those times when you’ve been extra careful? Did the strength of your safety commitment depend on an outside event-like another person being involved in an accident?

You can keep your commitment to safety strong by remembering the commitment is for you. If you allow things that happen to other people determine the strength of your commitment, it is likely to fluctuate a lot. You can always learn from things that happen to other people, but to keep your commitment strong all the time, stay focused on your personal safety and those things you do that affect it.

Having a personal commitment to safety and keeping it strong are more important than any safety program, procedure, or rule. In fact, programs, procedures, and rules depend on a strong personal commitment to safety.
Ask yourself where you are with your own safety attitude and behavior.

Are you 100% committed to safety, 100% of the time?

You are? Great! Need some improvement?

Promise yourself to work on it-and keep that promise. You’ll be glad you did.

“You are confined only by the walls you build yourself.” – Unknown

The More Routine The Task.. The Bigger The Safety Risk

For some people, safety only becomes an important consideration when they are doing a “dangerous” job.   They rationalize that safety procedures can be bypassed when the task is simple and seemingly presents little risk or injury.

Unfortunately, this type of thinking is why many safe tasks end up resulting in the most serious of accidents.  Safe work habits should not be limited to those projects that are the most difficult.  These work habits must be part of your everyday work routine.

If safety is not incorporated into every job you do, it’s really only a matter of time before an accident occurs.  Think about the job you are on now and the tasks you do each day.  Perhaps the project is just starting, or nearly finished.  Both situations clearly make for less risk than at other times during the project, or do they?   Maybe it’s the size of the project.  The so-called “smaller” projects present less safety risks, or do they?

In both cases, the answer is NO. Safe work practices are required whether your project is just starting or nearly finished.  Safety is critically important no matter the size of the project.  Smaller projects should not encourage you to take safety shortcuts.

It doesn’t matter that you may have done a particular task a thousand times without incident.  If you are not doing that task safely, it’s only a matter of time before an accident will occur and your number may be up.

Soon after my accident, I insisted that when my sons are doing certain chores, such as feeding the elk, they take safer precautions.  They wear protective gloves and use safety shears when cutting the strings on the bales of hay.  This takes a little longer and was awkward at first. However, it has now become a habit and they don’t even think about the extra time it requires.

Safety is an attitude – and that attitude should be positive with no exceptions.  Do the right thing and follow safety rules every day no matter the size of the project you are on.

“Having a positive mental attitude is asking how something can be done rather than saying it can’t be done.”     -Bo Bennett

Seat Belts and A Second Chance

Most of us have had to endure life experiences that are painful, but many learn lessons from those experiences that change our behavior and our lives for the better.

Unfortunately, some of us never get that second chance, or even worse, we don’t learn from our mistakes and have to endure painful life experiences that can also be tragic.

Fortunately for me, I got a second chance. I learned lessons from my accident that forever changed my behavior and the behavior of my loved ones forever.

So it is with seat belts. Consider this one person’s testimonial about seat belt use.

“When I first learned to drive, seat belts had been installed in cars and trucks but I can honestly say that I can’t remember wearing my seat belt very often. That is until a day back in October of 1986. I was driving alone and another driver, who was at fault, turned their car directly in front of me.

Thankfully, both vehicles were not going fast. Nonetheless, I was thrown into the windshield because I was not wearing a seat belt. After a hospital visit and crowns to replace the teeth that were smashed on the windshield, I had learned a very painful lesson.

In the nearly 20 years since that accident, my family has had to endure three other serious car accidents of note, all the fault of the other drivers, where seat belts have literally kept our family healthy and alive.

Each accident involved the other driver cutting in front of our vehicles. Each accident resulted in our vehicle being extensively damaged, and most importantly, each one of my family members involved in those accidents walked away unhurt.

They walked away unhurt from those accidents for just one reason – each was wearing a seat belt.

We got our second chance and used it again and again and it’s made a difference in our lives.” Yes, seat belts are required to be worn by the company. They’re even required by law. Yet many of us still don’t wear them.

Furthermore, insurance statistics state that the two groups “guilty” of not wearing their seat belts most often are:
1. Drivers between the ages of 18 to 24
2. Drivers of pick-up trucks; (And what kind of vehicle do many construction & industrial workers drive? You guessed it – pick-up trucks!)

We can never “choose” when a vehicle accident will occur, so you’ll never know when you’ll really need that seat belt.

If you’re one that still doesn’t wear your seat belt, your second chance starts now. Wear your seat belt each and every time you drive.

Tell everyone in your family to wear their seat belts. It can make all the difference in the world.

“The difference between school and life? In school, you’re taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you’re given a test that teaches you a lesson.” Tom Bodett

Distracted Driving

I had the opportunity this past year to visit 28 local Utah high schools and discuss the dangers of distracted driving. I found as I was sharing my message with these teens, that perhaps they weren’t the only ones that needed this message. How often do we see adults who are distracted while driving? While we tend to crack down on the teens because they seem to have more accidents, I believe that we all could benefit from a little more education as to what the dangers are of distracted driving.

Distracted driving is any activity that has the potential to distract an individual from the primary task of driving and increase the risk of crashing. American drivers are distracted between one-quarter and one-half of the time, two-thirds drivers use a cell phone while driving.

There are three main types of distractions while driving:

Manual – Taking your hands off of the wheel.
-Using your cell phone
-Eating and drinking
-Adjusting the radio

Visual- Taking your eyes off the road.
-Looking at an object or event outside of the vehicle
-Reading a book
-Applying makeup
-Using your cell phone

Cognitive- Taking your mind off of the road
-Talking on the phone
-Talking to passengers

Because text messaging requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention from the driver, it is by far the most alarming distraction. 47% of American adults who text admit to texting while behind the wheel. 40% of all American teens say they have been in a car when the driver used a cell phone in a way that put people in danger. That folks, is our sons and daughters that are in those cars!

Drivers who use hand-held devices are 4 times more likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves. Text messaging creates a crash risk 23 times worse than driving while not distracted. When you send or recieve a text you take your eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 second, the equivalent- at 55 mph- of driving the length of an entire football field, blind!

Using a cell phone while driving- whether it’s hand-held of hands-free delays a driver’s reactions as much as having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of .08 percent.

Distracted driving is the number one killer of American teens. Alcohol-related accidents among teens have dropped. But teenage traffic fatalities have remained unchanged, because distracted driving is on the rise.

If you are a parent, I encourage you to have a serious talk with your children. Take an oath, as a family to put the phone away while in the car. This goes for both parents and children. You lead by example. Your children will do as you do, not as you say. Please help your children be safer as well as yourself. If not for yourself, do it for your spouse or children.

The choice I made almost 11 years ago changed my life dramatically. It wasn’t caused by texting while driving, however it was a poor choice that affected so many lives. The choice that I made perhaps affected my family more than myself. So please, think about the consequences of your actions and who they will affect.

“Children learn what they live. Better be an inspiration for your children to follow. “