Safety Bob
Safety Management Consultants


A “Can-Do” Attitude – Can Get You Killed

People with a “can do” attitude almost always get the job done – regardless of the obstacles. Unfortunately, many with that same “can do” attitude sometimes consider safety one of those obstacles. This brings me to the tragic, and actual, case of John, who no doubt “attacked” his work with a “can do” attitude.

I’m guessing that most of us know someone like John, and maybe we know the person all too well. John was a Supervisor at a Concrete Plant working during a rare Saturday evening shift. The newspaper article, printed on the
Sunday morning following John’s “accident,” stated that John was in charge of a crew of workers. It’s my guess that John had a real “can-do” attitude at work.

On the Saturday evening of the accident, John was working on a machine that makes concrete blocks. The newspaper article didn’t note if hardhats were required in the area where John was working, but it’s my guess they were. But John was not wearing a hardhat at the time of the accident. Maybe he thought his hardhat would get in the way. People with a “can do” attitude don’t want anything, even safety equipment, to get in their way. The newspaper article also didn’t note if the machine that John was working on could be worked on while it was running, but it’s also my guess that this machine should have been shut down before being adjusted or repaired. John didn’t shut down the machine before he started to work on it. Maybe he thought shutting down the machine would slow him down. People with a “can do” attitude don’t want to be slowed down when there’s a job to be done. It’s also my guess that the Company had safety rules regarding the repair and adjustment of the machine John was working on, likely calling for the machine to be “locked out.” “Can do” people also usually believe they know the equipment in their work area so well that a “lock out” isn’t necessary and it’s OK to take a safety short cut and fix the equipment “on the go.”

To finish this tragic story, John’s head was crushed in that machine and he died of massive head injuries on the job that fateful Saturday night.

What safety equipment are you not wearing? What safety procedures slow you down? What machines are you taking a “shortcut” with? If your “can do” attitude doesn’t have safety first on your list of things to do, then “accidents” will likely and unfortunately be one of the results you achieve.

Remember: A job done safely is a job done right. Make sure your “can do” attitude puts safety first.

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