The youngest two and myself spent some time Sunday afternoon watching a most interesting documentary on toxicology, highlighting the life of Dr. Alexander Gettler. It was fascinating to see the science of forensics, before it was accepted in criminology, and the fight to have it respected. However, it hit home for me.
As a safety assistant for a general contractor, part of my job is researching and presenting the safety information needed for our guys to be in compliance with safety requirements. To be honest, some of the guys see some of these safety requirements as huge inconveniences that make them work longer on a particular job and end up costing the customer more. But they get to go home at night because they are safe. Watching the documentary showed me that there was a time when workers injured on the job were accused of being weak and crippled before they came and the employer had been kind to them in even giving them a job.
I shared this information with the guys and how working in dangerous environments was pushed under the rug for many years. It brought a new light to the reason why we go over dangerous chemicals and the protocol for dealing with them, including learning how many parts per million you can be exposed to before serious illness and death occur. There is a reason why we follow these safety rules and maintain our data on ISN, a safety portal for industries and their contractors.
Today, I’m grateful for the hard work of Dr. Gettler, for perfecting the science of toxicology and helping to get legislation passed to protect workers. Our guys get to go home at night to their families because they work safe.
I admit it, one of the favorite parts of my job is being a woman getting to tell a group of grown men to watch themselves and pay attention to safety concerns. It must be the mom in me, but as a safety assistant for a small general contractor outfit, I take my job seriously.
We cover OSHA requirements, staying in compliance with our clients and seasonal issues such as the recent rains we’ve had leaving pools of stagnant water around that can breed mosquitoes. Since some pretty scary stuff has been creeping into East Texas via these little insects, the guys needed to be reminded to be on the lookout for mosquito breeding grounds on the job site.
I often bring up common safety violations, such as climbing a ladder with stuff in your hands (because it causes accidents and even fatalities), but today we talked about distractions. Even if you are following all of the safety rules – you can still get distracted. Number 1? Mental distractions. What happened over the weekend, at breakfast that morning or the talk you know you’re going to have to have with your kid after school; all of these things can weigh on a person’s mind and lead to distraction. In the construction and general contractor industries – distractions can put yourself and others at risk.
What about you in your work? Distractions are dangerous and can even be deadly. Are you taking care of issues at home so you can focus on work at the office? Have you managed to lasso that runaway calendar and make it work for you so you don’t get distracted by how thin you are spread instead of paying attention to the job at hand?
Now flip it around and ask yourself the same questions. Have you left work at the office so you can focus on your family when you come home? Have you practiced good time management at work so that when you come home you are home and not bringing work home with you?
Distractions are dangerous on the job, but they are also dangerous at home. Stop and take a deep breath and ask yourself am I distracted at work? Am I distracted at home? Am I distracted in my relationship with God? Be honest and then be intentional as you go about staying connected in daily life to what matters most.