“Safety First” is a Deadly Choice

I saw it in the warehouse.

It couldn’t be missed. Sixty foot across, the banner hung high on the ceiling.

“Safety First”

The unit’s safety representative was proud of the new sign. She’d worked hard with the director on the funding approval.

But safety wasn’t first. Their role was to stack, sort, inventory, and deliver parts. Their annual appraisals were written with this in mind. They wore PPE as trained, at first, but after the first few months only when someone was around. They knew where the exits were because two of the doors had to be locked to prevent “inventory loss”. The workers also knew their safety representative …as she was also the equipment custodian, records manager, computer tech, vehicle POC, and official travel rep.

The banner was a deadly choice because it allowed them to show they were safe…and act differently.

Then a worker fell through the building’s skylight. Right past the banner and onto the concrete floor.


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