No matter what you’re doing in our business, you always have to think about everyone’s safety.
Our work isn’t easy, and it can at times be dangerous. There are plenty of opportunities for people to get hurt, situations to go wrong, or for there to be an accident at the quarry.
I talked to Andy Thompson, a representative from the Mine Safety and Healthy Administration (MSHA) the other day. He used to work in enforcement, but now he works in Education; training and educating small businesses on how to stay safe and follow the right procedures so they can protect their people and themselves.
It amazes me sometimes at the level of risk that is involved in our business. Andy is always talking about prevention and little, but effective, ways that business owners can reduce risk and protect their people from accidents. Things like just making sure your crews are wearing a seat-belt in work vehicles, having a plan ready, and making sure everyone knows it to the point it’s probably boarder-line overkill can make a world of a difference.
No one likes those meetings. The HR safety ones where someone gets in front of a boring power point while you drink some weak coffee that you wished was a little stronger because you’re convinced if you have to look at one more black and white slide with information about things that will never pertain to you that you’re going to dump your coffee on ‘that guy’s’ perfectly ironed shirt who keeps asking questions that
Not that I know from experience…
But I’ve been in those meetings, I’ve drank that coffee, and like the rest of us, I usually tuned it out. However Andy has a great way of explaining things, of making it personal and reminding me that it takes all of us to make sure that everyone is safe in our pit.
He told me this one story the other day about a mining accident where two guys were deep in a pit, I think they were mining stone to crush. That detail escapes me, because I was so hung up on the words ‘missing second body’ to really catch all of it.
Apparently there was a wall of sand or gravel that slumped off and buried two guys that were on equipment in that pit. It killed both of them; they found one of the bodies, but when I talked to him he said that they were still searching for the second.
It made my belly churn a little because the thought of something like that happening to anyone in our company left a bitter taste in my mouth that would put that ‘Jet Fuel’ Keurig coffee to shame.
Andy talked to me some more though about the importance of planning, and making sure that the right people designated to handle those incidents know the plan like they know their own birthday.
You can never plan enough, you can never reduce risk enough, but you can never really plan when an accident will happen. They just do.
But at least for us, like most things, we have a plan. It’s the planning and the great care that we take to protect our people that allows us to move forward even when we get a few curve balls.
They come out of no-where and tend to hit you where it can hurt; but we have a plan, a plan that works, and a plan that everyone knows.
Besides it’s not just rocks out there, it’s our people. Lives.
Lives that are certainly worth more than just planning.