Even though we live in a world of steel and engineered drawings, we are constantly reminded that people are connected to the engineered fall protection systems we manufacture each day. Yes, we think about the hazardous work areas we discover during site assessments, we discuss OSHA standards and citations, and we generate project proposals, but in simplest terms, our work involves human beings and finding ways to keep them safe while working at heights. This is what motivates us to show up for work each day. A recent phone call from a client drives this point home.
The call prompting this post wasn’t from the owner of the company or the point person assigned to the project. This call was from an employee who uses the horizontal lifeline we designed and installed to protect a 600 foot stretch of crane rail in a steel plant. The caller explained he was pulling OT and working alone on a Saturday. His shift was almost over and he was hurrying to finish up some routine maintenance before heading home for a family gathering. It was a hot day and it had been a very long week. A brief lapse in focus led to a loss of balance and he fell off the rail. The PPE reacted properly and the fall was arrested, preventing serious injury or death.
The caller explained his thoughts this way: “One minute I was thinking about hustling to finish up so I wasn’t late for dinner and within a few seconds I was thinking it’s good to be alive. Without my fall protection system, I wouldn’t have made it home.” There was a long pause on the line and I thanked the caller for sharing his story. Coming full circle to the introduction to this post, we don’t come to work just for the check or to help clients pass OSHA inspections…we do what we do to save lives.
It’s easy to get bogged down in cost-benefit analyses, assessing the likelihood of an unannounced OSHA inspection, and strategizing on ways to deflect concerns of your safety task force, but before going down one of these paths, remember the real reason fall protection is on your radar: fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives. Looking at your fall protection needs using this lens puts things into proper perspective. Or at least we think so.