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Making Safety Personal with Candace Carnahan

The Safety Guru Podcast with Erich Michrowski Episode 27 - Making Safety Personal with Candace Carnahan

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Incidents can happen to anyone, that’s why it’s important to make safety personal. Candace Carnahan was involved in a workplace incident when she was at the wrong place at the wrong time. She highlights that everyone needs the courage to care, and to take responsibility for safety to reap the benefits. Candace reminds us that anyone can get hurt and the importance of speaking up to improve safety performance – if you know better, do better! Tune in to hear Candace’s story and insights.

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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 The Safety Guru public speaker and author. Are you ready to leave a safety legacy? Your legacy success story begins now.

Hi and welcome to The Safety Guru. I’m your host, Eric Michrowski. Today, I’m very excited to have Candace Carnahan with me. She’s a health and safety motivational speaker and advocate for health and safety based out of Halifax, Nova Scotia. Candace, welcome to the show.

Thank you, Eric. Happy to be here.

So, tell me a little bit about your story and what drove your passion for safety and to become this motivational speaker that speaks to a lot of global companies.

Well, as my story starts, almost two decades ago, I was working at a paper mill in I’m actually from a place called Miramichi, New Brunswick. And the paper mill was the bread and butter of the community, I guess. And I knew as a child of a parent that worked there, my mother, that I would be employed there. And so, I did a summer internship; I guess you would say labor work. And this would have been in nineteen ninety-seven that I started.

So maybe, needless to say, but I’ll say it anyway. Safety training was not really high on my radar, and really something that we were talking about in school training was looked upon as something that was a bit of a pain in the butt and overkill. Again, when you work at a place where your folks work at, you don’t really think that you’re being invited into the pits of danger. I, on my third summer, stepped over the top of a conveyor belt system.

I had been using that method of crossing from one point in the middle to the other for three full years, basically watching other people do it and following their examples and not thinking for myself and really making a choice to take a shortcut, not considering the consequences. And on August 11th, I put my foot down at the wrong place at exactly the wrong time. The margin of, you know, the chances of getting caught were so slim. But I did.

And my foot, yeah, my foot went into the rollers where the belt converged and the point, if you will, and I was stuck there for almost half an hour. Yeah. You know, stuck there while they called the ambulance. And they basically had to disassemble the system, the maintenance crew. Yeah. To free me and get me out. So, it was traumatic, to say the least.

And it’s really unfortunate. And I think it’s too often I hear that story of somebody new to the role coming in, and then something critical happens. And I think what would you talk about is really the importance of caring, having the courage to care to make a difference, the onboarding, training, talking about safety. Like you said, it’s not something that most people grew up in school thinking about safety. It’s just embedded in what how we think for most people.

Tell me a little bit about the courage to care and what that means, and how he could have made a difference.

Well, I think that after I saw the impact that my incident had on the fellows, I worked with, and it was a predominantly male industry and a great group of people. I think what people don’t realize sometimes is what a measure of strength can look like is actually speaking up and saying, be careful and not, you know, moving along with this. Let anything go. Shortcuts are cool. You know, the mentality that, unfortunately, is still very much alive and well in a lot of industries.

It takes courage to speak up and to tell somebody; I don’t want you to get hurt. I know everyone is doing something this way, but you know what? This way is safer, or that way is safer. So, there was a lot of guilt and feelings of, you know, why didn’t I say something? I should have spoken up. Yeah. With the people, I worked with. And in seeing that, it made me realize that sharing my story so that not only me and my family and my friends didn’t have to go through something like this ever again, that also the people that I worked with who were significantly affected didn’t have to go through it and had the tools and the understanding of how they could prevent it.

I think that’s a really important point is to two things, is that too often I hear people just they see something that doesn’t feel right, but they don’t necessarily say something because they’re afraid about how do I say this correctly? What’s going to be the impact if I do it? But the impact from what I remember when we spoke a little while back was even all the way down to the first responders in terms of how they respond and the impact on them.

That’s right. I’m happy you reminded me of that part of the story. Yeah. That the gentleman his name was Dale. He wouldn’t mind me saying that he was my first responder and rescue me. And it wasn’t until years later, I mean, 15, 16 years later, that I ran into him on the river fishing, as people do in America. And he shared with me that he was on a work of post-traumatic stress disorder and largely in part due to my experience and my incident.

And so, yeah, here I am living my life and have no idea what step, you know, impacted somebody else for so many years so greatly. Yeah.

And it’s really the power of telling stories, sharing those stories, sharing a lot of ideas around. How do you convey because what I’ve seen in many cases is a bit like you describe other people then start feeling guilt because they start thinking, I could have said something, I should have said something and not truly necessarily realizing what’s the risk; in front? And different people have a different understanding of risks and hazards. I know the first day, if I if I’d gone straight from school to working in a place like that, I wouldn’t have known what danger is and what I need to do to protect myself.

Well, you know, people say all the time, if you would, you don’t know. Can’t hurt you. And I try. That’s because I didn’t know I could get hurt. I didn’t know I didn’t. The first step in not getting hurt is truly recognizing that you can be you know, if it can happen to somebody else, it could happen to you. And you know something you said earlier just a moment ago about, you know, if I had known better and the people that I worked with, they did know better.

They just became a place and got used to taking that shortcut. And the more you get away with doing something; it reinforces that you’ll get away with doing that something again until you don’t. So, I always say to people, you know, if you know better, do better.

Absolutely, and I think I remember I started on the airline industry, an industry that’s known for its understanding of safety, the recognizing the importance of safety, and so many amazing disciplines around safety. But I remember from initial training, some of the elements of what you got trained and we got drilled in safety over and over and over for weeks before even having access to anything remotely close to a plane.

That’s good to know.

But once you are going to do this. Yes. You know, weeks and weeks of training and you didn’t circumvent, you had to show you understood. It is probably no industry I’ve ever seen other than maybe nuclear puts so much emphasis. And it really training and investing and understanding what that risk and the hazards are. But even then, you’d go on the line, and you start seeing people being slightly more complacent. And that becomes dangerous because if you have a little bit of complacency here and there, that’s where because it starts happening.

Listen, I could jump right in there. I’m going to tell you, as somebody who’s constantly flying to get to work on a weekly, daily basis, what really drives me nuts, and I can’t wait to get that kind of plane to be driven by it again. So, what really drives me nuts is when you’re on the plane, and they’re asking for a couple of minutes of your time, right. You listen. So, it’s not even the employees in the workforce.

It’s the passengers. Oh, for sure. You know, we have a few minutes of your time to let you know what the safety procedures are. And I’m sitting beside somebody on the inside. I’m on the inside. I like the window, and they’re on their phone. And I will say, excuse me, I do politely. Would you mind paying attention? And I had a fellow look at me one day, and he says, East Coast is coming out.

The fellow he says to me, you know what? What do you think the chances are that something’s going to happen? He’s really just joking with me, you know? And I looked at him, and I said, well, I don’t know. But they’re not none, are they? And he said, yes, you’re right. You know, so I mean, again, it’s that mentality of it’s not going to happen to me is just alive and well in all facets of our life.

And it’s if you’re looking for it, as I typically do, and you would also as The Safety Guru you said, you know, and it’s like this people can say, oh, I realize I’m not invincible yet. You know, as we always say, our actions speak louder than our words. So, if you were actually disregarding safety instruction and rules and regulations in any environment, then your kind of contradicting yourself as far as I’m concerned. Right, because you’re saying I actually am above this, and this isn’t going to hurt me.

It’s so, when you talked about that, you see something, and you say something. It’s something that you bring up a lot of your conversations. I’ve certainly had the same conversation with a fellow passenger on a plane who isn’t doing something that’s highly unsafe. Once, it was a person who are taking out their entire laptop just as soon as the flight ends had done the safety checks. And I called him on it very gently and highlighted the risk around why the laptops were gone.

They were obviously has done it as soon as the flight attendant took the safety checks, but it didn’t result particularly well. It resulted in about an hour and a half long flight of the guy grumbling and complaining and moaning about me for the duration of the flight until we arrived at the destination. But he did comply. So, you talk about this theme of saying something, something sometimes that goes well; I’ve had an executive sometimes tell me what it was.

In one case, he was correcting a team member who was doing something very unsafe, working on a ladder off-centre, drilling into the ceiling with no eye protection stuff, flying into his eyes, try to get that person to stop. And it said three times, it’s not always easy. So, tell me a little bit about what your experience has been around sharing stories, obviously saying something and driving the right outcome.

You know, I saw two of my things. I often say I cheer. If you see something, say something with my audience. And I believe that sharing story saves lives. And so those two go hand in hand. So oftentimes, clients and people I’m working with will say to me, how do I approach somebody and tell them yes or no, do it this way or you know, and that’s when I say, OK, that’s seeing something and saying something.

But it’s also great to share a story and make it personal. You know, it’s hard to argue with somebody who’s saying to you, I care about you. I don’t even know you, but I care about your family. I care about the effect you have on the environment here. I care about, you know, seeing that you get home safe. And I also care about myself and not having to live with the fact that I should have spoken up when I saw you do something that wasn’t safe.

But I did it, you know, so there’s a number of ways I think that we can approach situations. And you know what? They will not always be accepted with grace, but. I think that you know, that the more people, the more often approach the topic of safety and step away from rules and regulations. And because I said so and approach it with because I care, you know, there’s a much better chance, a greater chance of success because people have a bit of a harder time arguing with that.

And how do you get somebody to overcome that question mark that there’s say something that, you know, you see something? There’s a lot of people that that sometimes will say, hmm, but maybe nothing wrong will happen out of it. How do you help people get to the realization of I need to be comfortable saying something almost all the time? Well, we’re all that.

Yeah, for sure. And I think that what you just nailed there, Eric. As soon as you say and there say something like, that’s the sign, you know, don’t even second guess at all because your gut instinct, which in my mind is the most important piece of you have to work with, that’s your gut instinct. So as soon as your gut instinct is causing you to have that feeling, that means action is required almost always.

So, I think also that people when they’re you know, the question is this maybe it’s none of my business. That’s what I hear. Right. Someone told me it wasn’t my business, or I’m thinking maybe that’s not my business. And I always say when it comes to safety, make it your business. When it comes to safety, it’s everybody’s business. And again, you know, it goes back to the fallout of those affected by a workplace injury.

Nobody goes to work alone, and nobody gets hurt alone. So, it is you’re right. It is your responsibility and how you look at it as an opportunity, in addition to an obligation to have the courage to care to speak up, see something, say something, do the right thing. You know, if you know better, do better. There are so many ways that you can put it. And once I start talking about safety, I just get super jazzed of a safety nerd.

But there are so many ways that you can that you can, you know, that you can frame it. But the bottom line is, is that you don’t want to. Somebody’s not going home to their family; the people that you’re really going to work for are the people who are waiting for you at the dinner table, not the company that pays your check. You know, and I think that’s what we also have to keep in mind when we’re actually even ourselves challenging ourselves to take risks that nobody else is asking us to take.

You know, we’re not advocating for ourselves often enough. We should be having that conversation. Well, what’s it worth to me? What’s the risk? Who’s going to pay the price when we’re thinking about taking a shortcut or not bothering with that third step in the safety procedure? You’re not going to get a raise for that. You’re not going to get a pat on the back unless you’re working for a company that I’ve never met before. You know, and at the end of the day, you’ve got absolutely nothing to gain and everything to lose, as does your family.

And I think that as individuals, we need to keep that in mind. I always go back to my incident. I mean, I if I did mention the other people who set the example. Sure. But at fault and blame our words I use; they’re not proactive. I use responsibility. Yes. It was the other people’s responsibility to set a great example, a good example to say, for example, it was my responsibility also to think about what I was doing and to consider the risks in my actions, you know.

So, pointing fingers and placing blame doesn’t bring back a loved one, and it doesn’t make limbs grow back. So, taking responsibility and being proactive is the state that I like to operate from.

And I think the leaders have a huge ability to influence that because they can create an environment where people are comfortable talking about it. They can reinforce the right behaviors that can reinforce that somebody stop work because they felt something didn’t feel right and in a really reinforce that challenging attitude day in and day out. So, I think a lot of that, in my opinion, rests on how the leaders show up and how they create the environment in the culture for the right behaviors to happen and appropriate proper basis.

Absolutely. You know, and I see it with people and the companies I work with every day, those that are demanding that people shut down massive operations. Right. You know, in the name of safety and actually exercising that right to refuse. And then, you know, ExxonMobil, for example, is a company that I worked with here on the East Coast off the label on the oil and gas rig. And I mean, there is there can be a great expense to shutting down, of course.

Right. But, you know, companies that put the priorities and the safety and the well-being of them of their workforce first, that’s where that’s where you want to go. That’s where you want to work with. And at the end of the day, also what I think is, you know, so admirable and that’s such a great example is when these organizations actually take those stories and those situations and make sure that globally they are diffused and shared at all levels so that, you know, an example is being set by that throughout the whole entire world, within the organization.

I mean, the power in that is I mean, I don’t have the words, but it’s really key. I remember way, way back early on in my career, again, in the airline industry, there was one decision, probably my first couple of months, maybe first year in the role. So, it’s very, very green. And I stopped work in this particular case, cancels part of the operation, which is specific flights for what seemed to be a very real hazard, ended up not being a real hazard.

The cost to the business was somewhere between a million and a half of those decisions. But I didn’t get fired. I got promoted not the next day, but I got promoted. It was recognized as the right choice, the right thing to do. And that speaks huge amounts if somebody is willing to take a cost in the millions because it’s the right thing to do.

Exactly. That’s exactly what I’m talking about, you know. And then the more people who share those stories and the more confidence is gained. I mean, you know, I believe that we should be aiming towards a fatality free work force. Obviously, you can’t just say it’s OK to hurt one person who wants to put their hand up for that to be their loved one. No pressure. Right. And so that those are the measures and those are the lengths that leaders and organizations need to go to.

And that, of course, the trickle-down then is that the smaller organizations see you know, that works, that’s getting people home and why these decisions might cost millions, as you know, what really costs millions and millions if we’re talking money, forget the emotional impact is an injury for sure. Right? I mean, so I think that. Always, always looking at anything that you do with regard to health and safety, whether it’s shutting it down, you know, having speakers, new safety programs, do whatever it is that you’re doing, you always have to look at it as an investment and not in it, not as an expense, 100 percent.

So, I want to close off with some thoughts. You displayed huge resilience through the experiences you’ve had. We’re now in pretty challenging times, obviously, with covid and resurgence of it at the time of recording this episode worldwide. What are some of the insights that you can share around resilience through challenging times, like what we’re going through right now?

Well, I’ve been thinking a lot about it, and I think back to losing my leg, right? I think back to actually finding out that the foot would not be saved and I would lose my leg before below the knee, which I don’t think I even mentioned in the beginning, that that that’s what the end result was. And having to figure out, can I wear high heels again? How am I going to dance? You know life is going to throw us insane curveballs.

And I think that when we’re dealing with something like the pandemic right now, I’m grateful, you know, for the challenges I’ve had in the past. And I’m grateful that I have the ability to recognize those challenges as gifts because it allows you the capability and the resilience, and the strength to tackle the next challenge in the next situation that’s, you know, adverse to what you had hoped for it to be. I’ve basically, you know, this year had to as many have had to recreate my career, get up.

And I also think, you know, and I’m not talking about it in a religious way at all, but faith, you know, faith people are doing the right thing and moving forward is something that I draw on and taking everything as I did after I had gotten hurt, literally step by step, literally one day at a time. Because if you look too far in advance, you know, it’s overwhelming. And I think that when we’re talking about safety, if a company has X amount or number of injuries and X number of fatalities, sure, having those go down to zero would be the ultimate goal.

But it’s also really important to just bite off a new piece every day, do one thing safer today. Don’t worry about changing your entire safety program and replacing every piece of safety equipment that you have for something bigger, better, newer. You know, chances are great if we’re using our gut and our brain and our heart thinking about the people at home, actually taking the knowledge that we have and putting it to good work, and trusting our instincts. You know, we’ve got the tools we need to make the safer decisions each and every day, whether that be taking a second glance around your car, making sure that the snow is off the top.

If you live in a place where there’s snow, which I do, you know, there are so many little things that we can do to make moving forward and being better manageable. And every time you see the payoff with these little decisions, you don’t even realize it. But all of a sudden, here you’ve got a big result, right? You know.

Absolutely. So, Candace, I really appreciate you coming on the show, sharing your insights. You’ve had an incredible story, but you’re fighting an incredibly good fight. And I appreciate what you’re doing on that front. You speak to a lot of organizations about safety and speaking up. If somebody is interested in having you speak either at their leadership teams or with them with the frontline team members, how can they get in touch with you all?

They can just look me up. Candice Carnahan Dotcom is my website. I always say I could just pickaninnies with one-legged, and I will pop right up there if you can’t spell my last. And I’m doing, you know; I’m making the moves to do things now. Virtual reality and online streaming, of course, when it’s safe, still traveling in person and looking forward to getting back to that. So, I really hope, you know, I think a lot of people now have gotten used to the fact maybe they are more comfortable with the notion that we have to go ahead and talk about things other than the pandemic, all the things that were still an issue and still needed to be focused on before this happened still exist.

And I think in twenty, twenty-one, we realize now we can actually stay connected. Like, look at us. You know, we don’t need to be in person when we can’t be, but we can still impact each other. We can still share stories and, you know, make the world a better, safer place to be in.

Excellent. Well, thank you, Candace.

Thank you so much, Eric. This has been great.

Thank you for listening to The Safety Guru on C-Suite radio. Leave a legacy, distinguish yourself from the pack, grow your success, capture the hearts and minds of your team’s Fuel your future. Come back in two weeks for the next episode or listen to our sister show with the Ops guru, Eric Michrowski.

The Safety Guru with Eric Michrowski

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ABOUT THE GUEST

Candace Carnahan, Safety Advocate

With wisdom and wit, Candace presents a new way to think about safety. Through the power of stories, she demonstrates how to use your voice – to see safety as an opportunity not just an obligation. Having experienced a traumatic injury at the age of 21, Candace knows too well the impact it has not only on the worker, but also on everyone around them. For 20 years Candace has been taking the stage sharing stories to companies of all sizes – and already more than half a million people have been moved by her personal experience of injury, resilience, and strength. The way she weaves safety seamlessly into storytelling that is relatable and memorable is what resonates and provokes real change in attitude and action. Candace lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and is a frequent traveller to clients in the manufacturing, transportation, energy, and production industries. 

For More Information: https://candacecarnahan.com/

 

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Workplace Safety is critical for employees to be able to go home to their loved ones each and every day. In this episode we explore the importance of Safety Leadership and effective Safety Culture in the workplace with Kina Hart, an inspirational speaker for Workplace Safety who tragically lost her arm in a summer job workplace accident. Tune in as she shares her insights on safety communication and participation, active caring and the zero tolerance method.

READ THIS EPISODE

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 The Safety Guru public speaker and author. Are you ready to leave a safety legacy? Your legacy success story begins now.

Hi and welcome to The Safety Guru. Today I’m very excited to have with me Kina Hart, who’s safety speaker, travels all around the country in normal days, but as much in covid times talking about the importance of safety, the impact on families. So welcome to the show. Really excited to have you with me today.

Thank you, Eric. I’m very excited to be here and I appreciate this opportunity.

Excellent. Thanks. So, Kina, why don’t you start up by sharing a little bit about your you got to this space where you’re you speak about safety to so many different companies across the US.

Great. I think that’s a fantastic place to start. I, I actually was injured in a workplace accident when I was 20 years old. I was a sophomore in college, heading to Alaska for the summer to work to pay for the remainder of my at least I thought the remainder of my college, but at least a year. So, my best friend and I decided to go to Alaska and work in the fish processing industry up there because it’s a great summer job where, you know, you can make quite a bit of money.

We got up there, though, and there wasn’t any work happening. We were all sitting around waiting for the fish to come in. I was getting pretty anxious about that because I really needed this job and I really needed it to help me pay for school. So, I ended up going to my foreman and basically begging him to let me work and to tell you the truth, I probably wasn’t going to take no for an answer. And he reluctantly, but he did decide to go ahead and let me work the next day on the cleanup crew.

Unfortunately, I presented myself as somebody who knew what I was doing, and I didn’t, I had no prior knowledge of this industry, I had no experience and we were just cleaning conveyor belts. It was a team of us. There’s five of us there that morning and somebody turned them a conveyor belt on while I was cleaning it. And I ended up getting my left arm tangled into the ANDULA that resulted in a traumatic amputation of my left arm and a complete change of my life.

From then on, I spent a lot of time in the hospital. I spent a lot of time recovering. But all in all, I feel like. Being faced with that adversity, right, so young. I feel like I was so happy and so grateful to be alive, that that’s part of the reason that I recovered so well. It took me about a year to recover. Throughout my life, though, I’ve always wanted to talk to people about my injury and thinking it would be a great maybe a motivational piece.

Now, through all that, I’ve talked to other people and they knew what happened to me and then came along and said, hey, we really story would work well with our business, can you come and talk to our people about safety and what went wrong the day you got hurt? And I said, sure, I’d love to do that. And I did that. And it was so well received that that was the very day I decided to start my business.

And that was 10 years ago. And that very day I started my company and I started speaking and I just asked people, hey, if you know somebody that I could come talk to, please let them know that I’m available and I’m ready to do this. And it has snowballed from there. And I’ve loved every second of it because I feel like this is truly my purpose. It’s my passion. And that’s exactly what I feel like I’m meant to do.

That’s phenomenal. And it’s really amazing that you’ve taken this opportunity to share in the story and really communicate the importance of safety across different organizations. Can you maybe share a little bit about the impact that safety has on families and loved ones and both from your personal experience but also from some of the interactions you had with people as you travel?

Yes, definitely. That’s one of the biggest parts of my presentation, honestly, is that ripple effect that happens when somebody is injured. When I was injured. And who I talk about most in my presentation is my dad. It crushed my dad. And this injury was 30 years ago. Still to this day, my dad, he doesn’t want to have a conversation about it. It hurts him to his core to think his little girl was up in Alaska and almost died.

I was resuscitated three times. But, you know, I’m Daddy’s girl, and he felt so guilty that he wasn’t able to pay for school. For me, that’s the reason was going to Alaska to pay for college. And his guilt comes from I wish that I had the money and I wish I would have just gotten a different job and paid for school for you. So, when I have memories of being in the hospital and having my dad at my bedside crying, I mean, just my strong dad who’s a logger, you know?

Those memories are difficult. And I’ll tell you, out of all my memories and when I think about this injury, that’s what breaks my heart to this day, is other people’s stories about what happened that day and how they felt and how it impacted and how it changed the life. Not necessarily all bad, but most of them are the stories are heartbreaking. It’s my dad, me picturing my dad answering the phone and just. Crying, sitting on the floor, crying after my sister found out he didn’t even know where to go or or what to do, you know, it’s my mom dropping to her knees is the heartbreaking.

So, when I think about stuff like that, it’s still so fresh, even this long, this has happened a while ago. And I hear people when I’m speaking at companies and they come and they talk to me afterwards, they tell me about their own personal story. I am not kidding you when I tell you that one hundred percent of the time, that’s where their heartbreak is to its look at what I’ve done to my family. Look at the people that I’ve hurt because I made a choice that I thought maybe it was OK or maybe I didn’t think it was OK, but I didn’t think about the fact that it would hurt other people.

I think that’s an incredibly powerful message, and in many cases, it may not even be realizing that this choice could have such ramifications, so many people make choices that can get them in harm’s way, not even necessarily expecting what could happen. One of the things that when we’ve talked about when we connected originally talked about that really resonated with me was really this concept of making safety personal. Speaking from the heart, you’re obviously doing that now. Too often I see leaders, executives not putting enough heart, enough making it personal.

Can you can you talk more about what you’ve seen in this front and how leaders can show up in such a way that really does make a difference?

One of the things that I’ve seen traveling too different. Companies, if you can almost feel when somebody has a good safety culture, you can almost feel it right when you walk in through the door, there is a different attitude with their employees and there’s a different attitude and leadership. And so, I’ve wondered along the way, why is that? Why is it that some places seem like they like they have it together, they have it going on, they are keeping their people safe and they’re all on board.

And then you walk into another place and you have. Almost a dissension between leadership and workers, like there’s no teamwork, there’s it’s not a together, it’s not a family, I guess I would say. And one of the things that I’ve seen in the difference is. Those. Very heartfelt, very sincere, very genuine leaders that are really in there with their employees and they’re letting them know every day, hey, I’m here for you. If there’s an issue that’s a safety issue, you’ve got to let me know because I’m not there.

You are. So, you’re the person I’m relying on to let me know that you need something. But then that leader takes it a step further and actually does something about it. When somebody does come to them with some type of complaint or worry or, you know, somewhere where they’re saying safety isn’t a priority. These companies that have safety be a priority. It’s not just a priority with statistics and with numbers and that type of thing. It’s a priority within the people they see.

Their employees are wanting this. They’re not doing it because they have to. They’re not doing it because they’re trying to get a number up or trying to save the company money. They’re doing it because they’re actually finally they’re on board with, hey, this is about me. This is about me going home safe to my family. And my company agrees with that. My company is saying they care enough about me to keep me safe. What I see is that leadership and safety.

It has to be one hundred percent of the time, it can’t be, it can’t be. We’re going to be safe most of the time where our employees are going to be safe only when we’re watching them. But you’re motivating your employees to be safe 100 percent of the time because they’re making it personal. They’re making it about their stuff themselves and really great leaders. Make that happen.

Yeah, I couldn’t echo that more. I would have come to the same conclusion is, is leaders that are great safety leaders have a way to personalize that. They have a story there, why it matters why it is relevant. They’re asking people to do more. And I think that’s so important is it can be something as just about a statistic. It can’t be about making a no bonus. No, it’s got to be something that they hold from the heart and really want to make a genuine difference.

Think about a new team member. Come on board. How do I make sure that I convey the importance of safety? It’s not about the company because it’s not even about the safety person, because the safety person, it could be a new person that comes in. But you can’t replace the impact that you’ve had on some of these families or loved ones, et cetera.

Right. And if you think about when I’m speaking, it’s one of the things that I say when I’m speaking. And I truly believe that I do not want to go to a meeting and talk to somebody who’s had. I literally am trying to connect with their heart, because if you think about your own memories and your life and things that you’ve done, the things you remember and the things that are impactful to you are things that have touched your heart.

So somehow you make that connection and you can make a connection with safety and somebody’s feelings and somebody’s heart because it’s there. It is that it’s their family. It’s why they would want to work safe, why they want to go home today with both their arms and both their legs and every part of their body connected. You know, it’s those things that we need to put together and there really needs to be. And this can only come from leadership.

I think there needs to be an absolute zero tolerance for any violations in policy and procedures. This has to be there. And to me, putting it there and having that zero tolerance is showing, hey, I care enough about you that I’m going to protect you. And 100 percent of the time, this is going to be the way it’s going to be, period. I like the example of the parenting. And that is if you think about us as parents.

Every time we get in the car, we make our kids buckle your seat belt. Zero tolerance for anything other than you, but the bulk of your seatbelt you don’t want isn’t going to drive the car until your seatbelts on. And that doesn’t change. And if I think about my own kids, this has been from day one in their lives. And the minute they get in the car, they buckle their seat belts. That’s because zero tolerance and why do I do that, because I love my kids so much and I don’t want them to get hurt and I know that that’s something that.

Going to help protect them now, on the other hand, in all honesty. When my kids are out riding their bikes or skateboarding, they wear helmets and elbow parts. But if they’re riding their bikes just around the driveway, I don’t always make them wear their helmet. So, my kids don’t always just go get their helmet when they get their bike, I have to tell them. So why is that? It’s because I haven’t had a zero-tolerance policy on that, I’ve let that slip.

I’ve let them once in a while ride their bikes without a helmet. Well, I’m telling you, kids are going to go ride the bike without a helmet if they can get away with it. Because it’s easier. It’s quicker. It’s oh, I don’t really need it. But doesn’t that parallel us as adults when we’re in the workplace? If we see there’s a place where we there isn’t going to be a zero tolerance and maybe we can get away with it this time.

And gosh, it’s a lot quicker if I don’t have to, you know, I don’t want to have to put my you have their hard hat on or I don’t want to have to, whatever it might be, walk out that machine this time. I’m just going to really quiet, go in there and fix it. And that is seen or noticed by leaders that lets it go. Well, then it’s going to be more likely that’s going to happen again.

Right. And but I think a lot of it also depends on how it’s done, because what you’re talking about is from a product standpoint, it comes with would love you care about the person. I think it gets me to the to the next topic, which is really round actively caring and the importance of actively caring in terms of having safety outcomes in how leaders show up. What’s your experience around this and what are some of the stories that maybe you’ve seen in terms of leaders that demonstrates that active care?

And why is it so important in your opinion?

And, you know, I think you’re absolutely right when you say that because it’s so 100 percent true. It is where you’re coming from. And that’s my point as well as a parent, you’re coming from a place of love as a leader. You’re coming from a place that’s truly, like you said, actively caring for the participants and your employees and the people that are there. And I have seen this in so many different places. And is it actually.

Makes me so happy when I see it. And the funny thing is, too, it makes the people around the leader happy. You can just feel that people are they feel safer, they feel cared for. And the leader that does that and I have some really specific people that I’ve witnessed doing this, they actually don’t just go out on the floor and look for things that people are violating procedures. They look for things that people are doing correctly.

And they notice those things and they make sure they take the time to let them know, hey, I noticed that you were doing this. Thank you for wearing your safety lenses. You know, thank you for having your hearing protection on. But they also asked them what they’re doing. What is it that you’re working on today? Can you explain to me, you know, what you’re doing? Also, is there anything we can do to make this better or to make this safer?

How do you feel? And. Leaders that go out and ask their employees these questions and then stand there and listen, but not just listen, but then go do something if a change needs to happen. Those employees feel valued and they feel like, wow, they actually do care about me, this isn’t this isn’t about money and it’s not about numbers. My leader actually cares about what I’m doing and what my job is. And they maybe even ask about my children and then remember to ask if they said, yeah, Johnny has a football game tonight, that leader would remember the next day to say, hey, how is the game?

Because they truly are there in the moment and they truly are caring and they’re actively caring, like you said. And that makes so much difference to people. Even if you think about just work as just normal everyday relationships, people can tell when you’re not sincere. People can tell when you’re, you know, their B.S. meter goes all over the place. So being sincere and heartfelt and genuine and earnest in your job as a leader. I think it’s one of the most important things you can do to help people feel like, OK, this is a place I want to be on board with this program and I’m going to do everything I need to do to make this right and to be safe not only for myself and for my family, but for this company.

I couldn’t agree more. I think one of the themes that I remember going to a mine site and there were two leaders down the same pit, and one of them came from a position where every day he would go and scold people. What did you do? What you did not do? The other person knew everything about each individual care, and you were asking them what was top of mind for each team member. And I think the element is actively caring as a standalone won’t solve safety issues, but without it, it becomes very, very challenging to get to the right outcome.

So, this other leader, he would, as he said, talk positively reinforce the right behaviors, but knew the individuals made it very personal from the importance of safety and the link back to the families of the individuals and the choices that each person was making. So, I think this is an incredibly powerful and important message for four leaders and really appreciate you traveling across the country to share the story, to get people really thinking about how are they showing up as leaders, how are they sparking people to really make safety personal?

Yes. Thank you. And I appreciate this. And you are able to connect with people throughout the country with your messages. And I completely agree with you. And I’m so happy that you do this podcast because I think leaders, they have a hard job, but most of the safety managers and any of the safety of theirs I’ve met their heart is in the right place and they’re working their darndest, like they take this home with them at night every night, and they worry about their workers just like they were their own family.

And they care about them and they want to do the right thing. And I think anything that I can do, anything you can do, anything we can do together as a community to support that, to support each other and just say, keep going, keep doing your best. And, you know, we know it’s a tough job and we just are I’m very grateful for the people that are willing to take on those positions and work hard to keep people safe every day.

Yeah, I think very well said. And I think the other element is a lot of people have their heart in the right place but don’t necessarily connect and explain it in a way that that shows that I’ve worked with some executives that deeply, truly care team members. But when people hear their story, they they’re hearing about darted raids, target numbers, and it becomes devoid of the connection to why they’re actually doing what they’re doing, which is to help people come back home to their loved one’s day in and day out.

So sometimes it’s even just changing the form of communication and how I’m sharing something.

Absolutely. And I’m glad you said that, because that is one of the things that I talk to about other people with other people. And what I try to tell them is. Just have a conversation, maybe take a step back and simplify it a little bit, it put yourself in the position of your employer. How would you best take this information if you’re standing up there and just handing out policies, procedures and this what you have to do and you better do it this way.

And always these are the numbers. After about five minutes, they closed down. So, it is about that even training your leaders and your managers on. OK, we have this very dry information that we have to teach. Nobody wants to be here, including us. So how do we teach this in a way that’s actually going to get through to somebody and actually connect with them? And you’re right from the very beginning, you really have to make connections and you really have to make it personal and you have to do your due diligence and just learning how people learn to read.

So, again, thank you for joining me today on the podcast and for sharing such an important message.

The good fight. Thanks so much, Eric. I appreciate it.

Thank you for listening to The Safety Guru on C-Suite radio. Leave a legacy, distinguish yourself from the pack, grow your success, capture the hearts and minds of your teams. Fuel your future. Come back in two weeks for the next episode or listen to our sister show with the Ops guru, Eric Michrowski.

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ABOUT THE GUEST

Learn about Kina and Her Story

Kina’s fight for survival began when she found herself caught in a moving conveyor belt. The fact that Kina is alive today to tell her story is a living testament to her strong determination and fantastic attitude.

Although she had lost her arm due to her accident, she didn’t lose her incredible zest for life. Kina leads a very productive and fulfilling life, with an attitude that keeps her thriving in her world without limits.

Kina’s Powerful Message about Safety

Kina’s message is about encouraging workplace safety responsibility. The day that changed her forever started like any other day. She didn’t plan or expect an accident. Now, Kina uses her workplace injury to motivate and teach.

Kina has a significant and unique opportunity to educate employees and workers on the importance of building a safety consciousness. She is dedicated to reducing occupational injuries by raising awareness about workplace hazards.

But just knowing about safety isn’t enough. Kina can help your company by speaking about workplace safety from her perspective, which creates an impactful and inspiring message.

Kina’s Safety Presentations:

  • Grab attention and make a lasting impression on staff

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  • Inspire and motivate audiences to make safe choices

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The Program: It’s Your Safety, Don’t Give It Away

Experience personalize safety through Kina’s story about the tragic loss of her left arm. Kina will speak about how a lack of knowledge and lack of training contributed to the day that forever changed her life.

She advocates that you are your last line of defense. Kina encourages active participation in safety. She also covers the effects injuries have on friends, family, and co-workers.

With witty wisdom, Kina will impart a message you can reflect on and share – a message that shows you how to be present, aware, and safe.

To contact Kina Hart:

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Phone: (509) 999 -1323

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