Safety Moment FAQs
A few minutes dedicated to a safety lesson at the start of every meeting.
Who can present a Safety Moment?
Anyone in any meeting can present a Safety Moment, so…everyone!
How long should a Safety Moment take?
3 to 5 minutes—short and sweet!
What’s the point of Safety Moments?
Safety Moments help bring safety to the forefront of our minds in a way that allows us to learn from one another’s experiences.
What does a good Safety Moment look like?
A good Safety Moment is relevant, impactful and often personal. Here are a few Safety Moment examples from our own head of safety, Keith Haselman:
A construction worker operating a boom lift was moving it to another side of the building. I told him he should have put on a safety harness even before he climbed into the lift. He argued that it wasn’t required when in the lowered position. I agreed, but explained I was talking about best practice—you never know when you’ll need to elevate and not have the harness. He responded, “I’m only moving the lift around to the other side. I’m not using it.” Barely a minute later, the front wheels dropped 6 inches and he was catapulted out of the basket onto the boom itself, unharmed. He looked at me pleadingly and said, “Please…don’t say it!”
Anything can happen at any time. We need to go above and beyond safety requirements to make sure everyone gets home safe, every single day.
One day we were pouring mud mats and installing vertical rebar for future grade beams in a large excavation. For the third time in a week, one of the iron workers installing the rebar had to be reprimanded for not wearing his safety glasses. I laid into him a bit, telling him if he couldn’t wear his safety glasses he could find a job elsewhere. I knew he was embarrassed, so I walked back to the trailer to cool off. About 15 minutes later, he came knocking on my door and asked if we could talk. I was confused when he reached out to shake my hand, but then he pulled out his safety glasses, which were broken in half and scratched across the lenses. It turns out he had been talking to his friend and bent down too quickly, forgetting he had just installed a piece of rebar which was now headed straight towards his eye. He said, “The safety glasses you made me put on just saved my eye!” He felt he owed it to me to apologize in person and wanted to share what I had done for him that day. At the next safety stand down, he volunteered to tell his story.
Always wear the appropriate personal protective equipment onsite, especially when safety staff advises it.
We had a sub erect a free-standing scaffold several stories in the air without any overhead place to tie-off. As I looked up and saw the top guy erecting a new level, I told him he needed to tie-off. When he replied saying there was nothing to tie-off to, I said he had to tie-off to the level he was standing on until he could lock in the cross-bracing to the first set of staging on the new level. He argued, “You’re supposed tie-off above your shoulders!” I sarcastically replied, “You’re also not supposed to hit the ground!” A few hours later he came down to tell me the following: “My guys were passing up planks for the working deck when I stepped on the end of a plank that lifted up quickly. Before I knew it, I was falling forward and knew instantly I was going to die. Suddenly, the harness jolted me to a stop and couldn’t believe it. Thank you, you saved my life.”
Sometimes there aren’t perfect safety circumstances, but doing what you can to stay safe in the moment is always worth the extra effort.
In my mid-twenties, I was helping my friend George clear the land behind his house. Another one of his friends—a huge power lifter—came to help and brought his own chainsaw. The trees were only 2-3 inches in diameter and very close together. He was a really nice guy, but we gave him grief for not bringing safety glasses and leather chaps to protect himself. However, he brought his own gloves and we gave him a pair of safety glasses to wear. He told us he was using the smaller of his two chainsaws and, being able to bench nearly 500lbs, could easily handle it. That man could clear some trees! About two hours later, George and I went inside for water. When we came back out, George’s friend was walking toward us clutching his side. The chainsaw had kicked back too fast for him to react and left him with a nasty cut that required numerous stitches.
Never underestimate your power tools and machinery.
One summer, I was visiting my grandparents’ home in Key West when I walked outside to find my father cutting down a tall, vertical branch from a tree in the yard. I warned him that the branch he was cutting was going to come straight down at his face. To avoid getting hit, he’d jump back and trip over the 6-inch pipe behind him and land on his backside. He scoffed at me and said something under his breath about safety professionals. A moment later, the branch came down fast. He jumped back, tripped over the pipe and fell—hard—as the saw went flying. I wanted to laugh but rushed over to make sure he was okay. He breathlessly pointed at me and managed enough breath to say, “You planned that whole damn thing!”
Always be aware of your surroundings and take others advice into consideration.
My neighbor had a really nice ladder that works in many different situations. It has a leg extender, platform rest, spreaders to work around windows—the works. When I got home one day, I noticed him using it to repair the spotlights under the corner of his roof. I offered to help, but he said, “No thanks, this ladder does everything.” His wife called me later that evening and asked me to come over. When I got there, I found my neighbor looking ruffled and dirty with pieces of the bushes all over him. Realizing he fell I said, “I thought that ladder did everything?” He replied sheepishly, “It does, even conducts electricity!”
Continually assess your surroundings for potential hazards, even if you don’t immediately see any.