Making Safety Simple with Steve Howe
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Steve Howe, motivational speaker and Safety Director at Emil Anderson Group, joins The Safety Guru this week to share his powerful story with us. He suffered a serious injury at work in 2006 when an excavator bucket struck him through his abdomen. Steve shares insights surrounding motivations behind shortcuts, the crucial influence that supervisors possess in truly promoting a safe culture, and practical ways for safety leaders to make safety simple. Drawing from his personal journey and rich experiences, Steve makes safety concepts relatable and easy to understand through emphasizing that safety should remain everyone’s responsibility. Tune in to learn, be inspired, and make safety simple with Steve Howe.
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Real leaders leave a legacy. They capture the hearts and minds of their teams. Their origin story puts the safety and well-being of their people first. Great companies ubiquitously have safe yet productive operations. For those companies, safety is an investment, not a cost for the C-suite. It’s a real topic of daily focus. This is The Safety Guru with your host, Eric Michrowski, a globally recognized ops and safety guru, public speaker, and author. Are you ready to leave a safety legacy? Your legacy’s success story begins now.
Hi, and welcome to The Safety Guru. Today I’m very excited to have with me Steve Howe, who’s the safety director at the ML Anderson Group. We’ll get into a little bit of background in terms of what they do. He’s also a safety motivational speaker. Incredible background, incredible story. Steve, welcome to the show. Really happy to have you with me.
Thanks for having me.
Why don’t we start a little bit about your story? Because you had a serious safety event that happened to you, and now you’re a safety director. So, I’m really curious to hear about your journey or story.
Yeah, sure. So, 2006, I was operator and tree faller for an organization, and we were widening the highway from Vancouver to Whistler for the 2010 Winter Olympics. And that day, went to work, it was just like any other day, and was asked to do some free falling. And the shorter version was I was asked to do a machine assist with an operator and myself. And I asked for a certain operator. I didn’t get that operator that I wanted and basically told the supervisor this isn’t safe. I need one of these other people to help me. The supervisor essentially said, if you don’t like it, there’s the road, use it. And I ended up dropping my gear and was leaving. I got to my truck and for some reason I grabbed my cell phone. I don’t know why I grabbed my phone, but I grabbed my phone and there was a picture on my screen. It was my girlfriend at the time. This is where my mind played powerful tricks on me. I went, Steven, 15 days I have a car payment due, truck payment due, mortgage payment due, all those things of life that we all have.
Sure. I ended up convincing myself that I needed to do this job. I went down the hill, talked to the operator. We had our plan put together. Essentially, all I had to do was just put undercuts in these trees, back cuts, and have an excavator push the trees over parallel to the road while the traffic was still moving. We got about 5, 10 trees on the ground so far. And then we get to the last tree. I haven’t got to fall in my life. And I put my undercut in, put my back cut in. I got in my safe still, and her thought it was my safe zone. And I gave the operator the hand signal to push. He started pushing the tree over. And instead of committing and pushing the tree down to the ground and following the next sequence of events, which would be picking up the tree, deck the world, the stamp, etc. He ends up turning the machine back towards me. And for some reason, the bucket comes flying towards me and hit me in the stomach. As it hit me in the stomach, it ended up dragging me the full length of the machine. And as I’m screaming and saying stop, I noticed my legs are now separating from my body.
From there, the paramedics were called. You think about, or I used to at least when I was 22, that thought all these emergency drills and procedures were a joke and tell you need them. Right. Because of those procedures, I’m probably here today. So, they called for a helicopter. The helicopter came, picked me up, got me seven minutes after the helicopter landed back at Vancouver General Hospital. And that’s where the journey really started. I went into an induced coma for several weeks. Then I started to come out and then they put me back in an induced coma because apparently, I wouldn’t survive the pain that I guess I was in. And over months and months and months and months, they started doing rehabilitation surgeries of trying to put my legs together with all the organs and everything that had been ripped out, trying to repair that stuff. Then probably about six, seven months in, I got transferred to GF Strong, which was a rehabilitation hospital where I was left with not being able to feel my legs. But they were there.
That was, again, a win to me in my mind that I could still see them at least. Then we started trying to just figure out life being in a power wheelchair. We muscled through that. The employer that I was working with asked me if I wanted to come back to work. I said, yeah. They said, what do you want to do? I said, I want to be a project manager. They said, well, can you at least get some schooling behind you? Because I actually only had grade nine at the time, I dropped out of school, which don’t promote that very often. So, I did that and ended up having to do safety as a side thing so that I could work during the day, being a safety guy and then at night do schooling to be a project manager. I did that for four years. While I started doing that, I worked on, I think it was $2.9 billion bridge in Vancouver as well, and finished my degree in structure management and told my company, said, hey, I’m ready to go into project management. And they said, Yeah, right. You’re doing too well. And so that’s the beginning of me being into safety.
And ever since then, I’ve been leading across Canada, United States, being a safety director now for email Anderson Group for the last years. And that gets you too today.
And email Anderson, just for those that are listening, broad organization, 10 different business units. Can you share a little bit of background? They do infrastructure projects roads. Tell me a little.
Bit more. Yeah. E mail Anderson Group is made up of 10 different business units from residential, commercial, big infrastructure projects. We got one right now we’re doing in BC that I think it’s around $600 million. One of the most challenging jobs in the province right now. We also do traffic control, landscaping, and paving, and maintenance as well. So, we’re very diverse.
Very diverse. So, your story is a very powerful one which you share. You’re now applying a lot of the principles. When we first talked, one of the themes that you touched on is really around motivations attached with shortcuts, why we work safe. Tell me about some of your exploration, some of the thinking in this space, because I think that’s an incredibly important theme.
So, one of the things, again, when you’re sitting in the hospital for that long, you have lots of time on your hands and you’re trying to figure out what went wrong and just trying to just under grasp this whole thing. And over the years, and it’s been years to figure this out, but I started to think about the decisions that I made every single day at work. And we’ve all heard the words, short cuts. And I took tons of short cuts in my life for sure, up to this point as well. And realizes that there’s motivation is attached to every shortcut that we take as humans. And some of them are easy ones. F or instance, some of us are just lazy that day, or it’s time management. We’re just trying to juggle so many things, or we’re striving from that attaboy from your supervisor manager. There’s a whole bunch. But the ones that it came more apparent, I would say, in the last four or five years, the significant role or influence that our supervisors and managers have on our front lines. I didn’t… Huge. It’s huge. And I didn’t totally grasp that. And as I’ve been doing motivational safety speaking around North America, I’ve been doing this little skit that it actually shocked me how well it’s worked and to show the effect of this.
And what I’ll do is I literally will pick someone out of the crowd, and I’ll say, I’m the superintendent, you’re the guy that works for me. And I’ll literally just say, Okay, we have to get these two sticks of pipe in the ground today because the rain is coming the rest of the week. It’s on the critical path. It needs to get done today. Do you understand what I need from you? And I’ll ask these crowds from 200 to 5,000 people. And I’ll say, Guys, what did I just say to that? To Johnny. And they all say, oh, you told him to take shortcuts. Oh, you told him to do it at all costs. You hear all these things. And the crazy thing is I didn’t say any of those things, but what I learned from all of this is that’s what they all here. They all heard that, and they all heard their own message that they perceive. And that’s when the real aha moment came because I realized up to this day and before, the number of conversations where my supervisor would say, you only have today, or it’s got to get done today, all those other things we’ve all heard. And all I heard through that message was safety doesn’t matter anymore. It’s got to get her done. And the reality is this, too, is again, being a worker before, nobody goes to work every day wanting to disappoint their boss and let them down. And so, if I believe that’s the most important thing to them, then most likely I’ll probably tend to do it. And so, I used to think that that is what’s most important to him because of some of the things he said. Now, hindsight is 2020. If literally he had that same conversation and I would say, hey, Johnny, but I don’t want you to compromise your safety. Can this still be done today? All I’ve done is add a few extra words, but now I went from a message to a black and white.
It’s very crystal clear. I do want it done today, but I don’t want it at all costs. And so, from that test kit, I’ve done that around, like I said, North America. I actually had this one individual supervisor. I didn’t know he was a supervisor at the time. He stormed out of the room. It was in Alaska, actually. He stormed across the room, out of the thing. I still have like half an hour to go. In the back of my mind, I was like, I can’t believe this guy is that something else. That’s that important. I just flew all the way here and you just leave like that. Again, that’s where my mind went. A gain, tried to forget about it and kept working or speaking and the meeting concluded and all of a sudden, he pops back out the door or in the door and he goes, hey, man, I’m so sorry that I had to leave. He goes, that just struck a chord with me. He goes, I just told the guys before I went to this meeting, he said, hey, I have to go into this safety meeting. I need six more sheet piles in the ground today.
And he goes, But I didn’t want them to compromise or save you. I didn’t want them to do anything that could hurt you. And he goes, But I don’t want them to think that based on what I told them. And to me, I was just like, Wow, full circle. It really works.
I think that’s an important point because it’s also a theme. I remember I was talking to one executive who had moved into safety, and he shared how at some point in his career, he had this realization that all he was recognizing people for was getting the job done, working overtime, things of that nature. He just took for granted that they were doing it safely. His reflection was like, All I’m saying is get it done, and you’re never hearing me say, Thank you for a specific behavior around safety. Thank you for something in terms of making a safe choice or stopping work or doing something that puts safety at the forefront.
Yeah, for sure. The other part from this, I learned, still staying on that track with the motivating some of the short cuts, is what you say or don’t say as a supervisor and manager. And I use this story a few times in my career. But right now, I have an eight-year-old and 11-year-old daughter and a beautiful wife. And they’re at the age now where they’re starting to verbally attack each other to the point where it’s almost too much. And it is, it’s too much. And I’m in the room watching this happen. And it made me think, if I don’t say anything, what message am I sending to my daughters? Because we know it’s not right. And so, I have to say something. But made me think about it. What if I didn’t say anything? What message did I send them? And to me, the message would be that it’s okay. And so, what line that I use is what you permit as a supervisor or as a father, you promote. And so, if you apply this back to work, if you’re a supervisor manager that sees people not tied off and they see that, then inadvertently you’re promoting that that’s okay.
Yeah, it’s a safety rule. It says that, but it’s okay to you. And so that was the other part where you could see how it influences the decisions you make. You get to the time management, you want that, a boy from him. He clearly doesn’t care and doesn’t speak up when he sees me not doing the right thing. So, it must be okay. That, again, helps influence the decisions you make as the boots on the ground.
Or even peers that see that you didn’t say anything, see it as you’re allowing it, you’re promoting it, you’re saying.
It’s okay. Correct.
I like the point you’re making there because I think one of the pieces, we often assume is safety. If I want to really drive a difference, it needs to start at the top. And yes, absolutely, senior leaders have a very key role. But the supervisor is the one who’s interacting day in and day out. And in my opinion, they’re the one that has the greatest impact into the decisions that their teams make.
No, I agree. Again, just thinking back to those days when I wake up and go to work, I’m sure I’d see a top manager, CEO, maybe, maybe in once or twice in my career. But the guy that I see every day was my supervisor. And again, probably even people that will be listening today have been in the trenches before and would know that one leader in this world that you looked up to, that you would run through a brick wall for. That person had so much influence in my life, and it wasn’t the top CEO because he can’t be. They had 55,000 employees. He couldn’t be everywhere. But that supervisor was there. And so, to me, he was the most influential person. And like I said, I can’t be the only one that thrives to have those out of voice, those affirmations and things. There’s more than just me that want that. And where are you going to get him from is probably from him, if anybody.
Absolutely. Or he’s going to tell you to hit the road, which is not the right thing to say. No.
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One of the things that you advocate and that you bring to life as a safety director is around making safety simple. I think that’s often forgotten. People get into these complicated elements. Tell me a little bit about what making safety simple really means to you and how you bring that to life in an organization like ML Anderson.
Sure. First and foremost, I got to say it again, making safety simple. It has to be easy, or people won’t do it. That is probably my biggest pet peeve that I see and hear is, and we’ve all probably heard it, there’s the famous buzzwords. We think a buzzword changes our safety culture or the next flavor of the month initiative. And the reality is our people aren’t stupid. They know that’s just the flavor of the month or the next buzzword. It doesn’t make them safer. And truly, what it does is it just creates white noise and distraction. That’s all it does, in my opinion. So, we’re trying to make it simple. And we’ve gone back to the basics. I got to him on this in three years ago. And again, elementary basics. And to me, well, one, if anyone’s into charts and graphs and those things, statistically, we have just phenomenal dropped off the charts for injury rates and stuff and ER ratings and stuff. Incredible. For anyone that can, those experience ratings, we were all at surcharges in all of our CUs. They’re know all in discounted positions. Anything you want to quantify, we have it.
And again, it was the starting beginning foundation was making safety simple. We also do… Everything is paperless, so it’s at their fingertips. It doesn’t matter if you’re at work or at home, they have it on their cell phone, ready to go, the whole OHS program platform at their fingertips, and they use it. That’s probably part of our most important thing, keeping it simple. The other thing that we were really focusing on is what we’re doing right versus the negatives and recognizing people for doing things well. And if you think about it, as humans, most of us have been trained or it’s embedded in us to just go look for all the things that are wrong. We’re there to fix problems. And it’s not like we typically go to school to say, Let’s go find all these positive things about somebody. And so, it’s actually pretty tough to do. But one of the things that we do, like I said, is we try and find, and this is our formula, is for every one negative, we have seven positives. And so, whether it’s in our meetings, we bring positivity. We have, for instance, a safety calls every week.
Again, there might be one or two negative things in there, but there better be 7 to 14 positive things that are going well and we’re doing shout outs. And again, praising people. And someone probably wants to know how we came up to the formula of 7 to 1.
Yeah, for sure. Because I’ve heard 5 to 1, I’ve heard 6 to 1, I’ve heard 10 to 1, now 7 to 1. And I think it’s less about the ratio.
Truly, it’s more about that there should be more positives than negatives at the end of the day, right?
Correct. And a lot more, not just equal.
Leaps and bounds more. So, we’ve used that. And then I try to, again, bring it back home as well. And I have a little… Again, I love my family stories, but my daughter, she’s 11. And one of the things that is a challenge is cleaning her room. It is a challenge to convince her to do that. And I tried the old standard way of nag and telling her all the things she’s not doing right. And I’m not trying to take things away from her, et cetera. But it’s not getting me very far, which clearly, I know for other people it’s probably the same thing. But one of the things is I tried to apply this same positive to negative ratio at home. And I noticed that she cleaned her room this one day and I said, hey, honey, I just proud and thank you for cleaning the room. What a good job. And we gave her some details of the things I noticed that she well-organized stuff. And lo and behold, it happened the next day. And then it happened again. And again, every day I’m continually recognizing her for it.
But what I learned from that is what gets recognized gets repeated. And so, to me, it’s the same thing as at work. If you go up and you observe someone in a trench and instead of just telling them all the things that are wrong there, find something positive to say, the better chances of that being repeated the day after that and the day after that. So that’s one of, I think, the things that we’re really pushing these days is this recognition piece.
So where did that ratio, the 7 to 1 ratio come from? You touched that in a little bit. I think from a reader standpoint, from a listener standpoint, I think it’s good to have the reference point because you’ve got an interesting data point.
Behind it. There was a couple of guys that put me on this, but there was an article from the Harvard Business Review that they said that they found that 6 to 1 was the right ratio for the best performing teams out there. We’re always pleased but not satisfied. So, 6 was good, we went to 7. I always have to exceed. I think this is an important message. The doing more recognition versus calling out things that are bad, I think is key. One is it gives you permission to actually call somebody when they’re doing something not right because otherwise, you’re just nag, saying negative things because now it feels more balanced. I agree with what you’re saying. It also gets you to do more of the things you want to see. One of the struggles I’ve seen with leadership teams, also with craft employees, is craft employees, actually, just the other day, it was a session I was in, and they were saying, I don’t want some leader salivating some fake recognition that they learned from a workshop or a book. I think there’s some merit to this one. I think I’ve also heard from some leaders saying, why should I praise somebody for getting their job done? So, tell me a little bit about how you drive that right ratio, because I think that’s key. And getting leaders to see what I should recognize is really important.
Yes, great question. Part of this, I would say, and I think I just want to touch on one more little piece on that, to just tile into it is why is this important. And if you think about there’s lots of us listening right now, including myself, probably you Eric, we all have a spouse. And think of the last time that your spouse pointed out something that was wrong. How did that make you feel? Did that motivate you? Did it make you not want to do it again? Because if that worked, then we’d all have perfect marriages. Right? it doesn’t work.
But think of the times when you actually were called out by your spouse for doing something positive and they recognize you for it. And how much did that motivate you to want that feeling in the end? To me, there’s no difference. And so that’s why I think if we’re trying, we need to find ways to motivate our guys, it’s easier to do it by recognizing than just trying to call them out because, again, that system is not working. It doesn’t work, in my opinion. The second part, how we’re trying to promote it and say it is, it needs to be genuine and sincere and directed through that person. Tying the shoelace, yes, might be not a great example. But one thing that we’ve learned is not everything’s wrong. If it was, we would have nothing built. Everyone would be in the hospital. So, there’s a lot of good things going right. It’s just harder to find them because, again, we’re so wired to just find the bad things. And so, finding that genuine, hey, one of our meetings we have is a CSI meeting, continuous and safety improvement meeting, and there’s pulling that guy that’s facilitating that meeting to say, hey, I really liked about this two things you touched on and how you tied it back to a certain subject, etc.
It’s very genuine, it’s sincere. You’re pointing out the specific things. It’s not just good job. That doesn’t go very far. It might for the first time, but it doesn’t. I would actually just tell you this before we got on here. I actually just had this exact same, AHA. I tried to be completely honest, I was just trying to speed up time because I was really busy. Yesterday, it was Farm Shore Day at the farm, and my daughter, she did really well. She cleaned the one side of the property, raking, did the horse manure, the chickens, the goats, everything. She did it all. It was amazing. Didn’t have to tell her thing. And I just wanted to recognize her, and I say, good job. And so, I said, hey sweetheart, you did a great job today. And you know what she said to me? Yeah, Dad, what part did I do good? And that’s when it just struck me again. Again, that was just too generic, not sincere. And so, I had to actually point out the things that she did well. And then you could tell that it made such a big more difference to her that I recognized her for the right things. So, I’m still learning this as we go as well.
Absolutely. But it doesn’t need to be complicated. It doesn’t mean you need to put big dollars around it. It doesn’t mean there’s a prize that comes out of it.
It’s genuine, sincere, as you said, but very tangible. It’s a behavior, something that maybe isn’t expected, that maybe isn’t the norm, but you’re going one step and beyond. But not necessarily you transform the world. Correct. I think that’s the elements. People are looking for that big, I went, and I ran this project and I transform all these things, etc. And then you get the out of the white. But if I’m hearing you correctly, it could be something simple.
Very. You nailed it. Very simple. Because also those things create ripple effects, too. They grow. And all of a sudden, you’re sending that recognition to those workers, those workers then recognize other people. And it just keeps… And again, to me, it’s the culture we’re trying to breed. And like I said, it just grows. And I’m seeing those fruits of that right now, three years in. And honestly, I say that every safety call we have every Monday, almost the whole organization jumps on that call, at least safety leaders and some of the foreman and all the way up to the CEOs on the call every week. And that’s one thing I said is so proud of this group because the amount of positivity that’s going, again, it’s cheap. It’s not expensive.
It’s not expensive. It’s simple. It’s a desire. It’s setting an expectation, like your 6 to 1 ratio. Whatever ratio you pick, it’s that you’re trying to find more positive things, and they’re happening. In every organization, they’re happening. As you said, otherwise, you wouldn’t be building bridges. You would be visiting a hospital every single day, if there were more bad things happening than there are good things happening. Correct. It’s interesting because I was working with a very good leader not so long ago, and one of his stories was really he struggle with that idea at the beginning in terms of coming up with more recognition. Then when he started doing it, he started seeing a shift. And like you said, then soon enough peers were starting to recognize each other and say, well, since we’re talking about recognition for a safe choice, can I share some of my own that I’ve observed? And then it starts spreading because now we’re not just looking at the things that are bad, we’re also looking at what we’re doing well and wanting more of it.
That’s awesome. So, I had one other one for the safety simple. It should not be a new concept to anybody. I’m not creating something new that nobody knows, but it’s this whole concept of why I work safe. I’ll start with myself. We probably all heard that slogan before, but I’ll try to give you what the meaning truly means to me and tied it all together is, after having this event, you realize what’s important in life and what isn’t. And ultimately, it’s my wife who is the cornerstone of my life. The girl who was in that photo in my picture 16 years ago was her, and we’re married now. I make smart, right choices every single day for her because I need to grow old with her, and I’ve committed to her that I’m never going to choose work over her again. She is first in my life. But it’s also my daughters. I work safe so that the arms and legs are still working and continue to work. Because, again, the pictures are so much bigger for me now as I know they’re both going to get married one day, and a part of their wedding is their dad walking them down the aisle and the Daddy Daughter Dance and all those things.
Again, before I got hurt, work was my life, my everything. Now it’s completely shifted and now work is important. I love work, but it’s not everything. It’s not the meaning of my life. Same with my hobbies. We all have hobbies that are listening today. A gain, I still love to hunt and fish and snowmobile and dirt bike and stuff. But those are the things I want to do. But the difference is I’m doing it because I want to know because I have to. That’s the hugest thing in this is that I get challenged lots on this. And they said, well, I don’t really get your goofy why I work safe thing. I’m just a compliant person. And the problem with compliant people I’ve learned is this, they’ll always do the right thing when everybody’s looking. But when nobody’s looking and you know, you won’t get caught, what decision will they make? The difference I find is people that have those whys in their life, the things that mean everything, it’s harder to make that wrong choice because there’s so much more at stake. And so, to sum that up, that when you find your why, the families, the hobbies, those things, you create meaning. And when you create meaning, you create purpose. And then you realize that all those things, the safety procedures, policies, all that stuff really just keeps all the pictures, the things in your life HD in here. But until you understand that safety is annoying, it’s in the way, it’s frustrating, I make more money. But because you’re missing that whole “WHY” component to it. That’s the whole reason why we do what we do. A gain, very simple concept. The other thing I learned, and it was pretty cool, I can’t remember his last name, but I remember Butcher’s last name, but he’s a very well-known speaker, Simon, I think. Simon Sinek? Yeah. One of the things that he, again, I always had this belief, this idea, and he just reaffirmed it for me is he was talking about the whole why, et cetera, in business, et cetera. One of the things he commented on that he did this study that the part of your brain, the lymphatic part of the brain that controls your decision making, your behavior, it can only change your behavior with emotion. And so, to me, that’s the piece that’s your why, the emotion part that you want to be here for your kids.
You want to be here for your spouse. You want to go fishing again or whatever makes your life whole. And so, it’s just neat to see and reaffirm my beliefs that they’ve scientifically proven the only way to change human behavior is through emotion. So, I thought that was fascinating.
It is. And I think it speaks as well to leader being comfortable speaking about them why for safety because they’re asking somebody else to do the same. I think there’s some elements there on vulnerability and being able to share it, but then eliciting that reflection on your why. So maybe share some thoughts in terms of some of the approaches that you do use to bring the why and to get your team members to think about the why day in and day out.
What we do is we either create… We get the craft to submit their photos and we either create and or we’ll do stickers on their hard hats for some reason. Craft guys love stickers and hard hats. So, the kids or somebody, I just had to make one the other day was a Cowboy’s fan. So apparently, he’s working safe for the Cowboys. But everyone has their thing. But what he does, it also makes it personal. So, when you see somebody doing something unsafe, it makes it personal because there might be a picture of that guy’s daughter or his wife. How can you not want to say something? That’s their why. So, to me, it just makes it personal at all levels. And then again, back to the vulnerability part, when our supervisors’ managers are doing the same thing, hey, our managers put one boot or one pant leg on at a time. They’re just the same as us. And even all the way up to our CEO. And I know our CEO has two kids and loves being with them. And so, I need to speak up if he’s doing something wrong. It doesn’t matter what level you’re at.
And so, to me, just, again, back to that simple concept. It’s very simple. We all have those same things, and we need to do it right for yourself, but for them and for the people in their life. Because again, that’s something else I learned from all of this. The ripple effect that was created because of a decision I made became waves and affected my friends, my family, just everybody because of one decision that I made.
Steve, very powerful story. Your story in terms of the events that you had, but also in terms of how you’re applying it to drive safety within the organization. Really powerful. Thank you for coming to the show and sharing your story. If somebody wants to get in touch with you, what’s the best way to reach out? There are a few ways. You could go to safetystevehow.com, or you can also go to Keynote Speakers Canada or Keynote Speakers USA.
Excellent. Well, thank you so much, Steve, for coming on the show.
Thank you so much for having me. It was awesome.
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ABOUT THE GUEST
With over 18 years in the construction industry, Steve Howe understands the daily hazards faced by workers and why safety is often viewed as an impedance.
In the spring of 2006, while working as a young tree faller on the Sea to Sky Highway project in British Columbia, Steve suffered an unimaginable injury. Despite the feeling that something wasn’t right that morning, Steve pushed forward – as many would – to get the job done. Unfortunately for Steve, this decision – to ignore his gut – resulted in being struck by an excavator bucket through his abdomen and being dragged for several feet. It was the beginning of a drastically altered life.
He was told he would never walk again, and it almost broke him. However, throughout his many days in the hospital. Steve had a chance to reflect on his journey and muster the courage and strength to challenge his projected outcome. Steve believes fiercely that we control our destiny. We have the choice to speak up when things don’t feel right. We have the choice to stop someone from engaging in unsafe acts. We have the choice to do the safe thing every time. Not only at work but in our day-to-day lives. So, he decided to choose a different path and after years of dedicated work, he is now able to walk again.
Steve shares how at 22 years old, he felt invincible. Sure, he had heard stories of workplace injuries, but it would never happen to HIM. Sadly, this belief, shared by so many workers, is what ultimately led to his accident. By reflecting on his injury and drawing on his experiences working in the field of safety, Steve has found what he considers to be the keys to success in preventing all workplace injuries. A goal that he believes to be 100% obtainable.
Living through 83 surgeries, 90 Days in a Coma and over 500 days in a hospital allowed Steve the opportunity to reflect on his accident and he developed a passion to share his story with others. His message of survival, emphasizing the importance of working safety not just for yourself but others around you, has been heard all around the world from Vancouver to Australia.
As a safety consultant, Steve travels across the Country sharing his story and inspiring audiences to trust their gut. And reminding them that he used to live to work but now he works to live. This keeps what’s important – his family, his health, his life – at the forefront of every safety decision he makes today.
For more information: https://keynotespeakerscanada.ca/speaker/steve-howe/ and https://safetystevehowe.com/.
EXECUTIVE SAFETY COACHING
Like every successful athlete, top leaders continuously invest in their Safety Leadership with an expert coach to boost safety performance.
Safety Leadership coaching has been limited, expensive, and exclusive for too long.