Category Archives: Safety Messages

Beauty and the Beast

I think it was Fort Mac’s Fire Chief Darby Allen who dubbed the fire as the “Beast”. I’m talking about the massive fire that has devastated Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada. Somewhere close to 100,000 people had to run for their lives and escape the inferno that surrounded and burned through their city.

Somebody pointed out that of all the cities in Canada, Fort McMurray’s residents were probably the best prepared for this kind of event. To date, two teenagers are the only fatalities and those were in a car crash. In itself, horrible, but absolutely amazing when you think of what those folks had to go through.

So, why do I think the citizens of Ft. Mac were the best prepared? Here’s where the “Beauty” comes in. It’s because the majority of the population are involved in the oil business. Through their work, they’ve had more safety analysis, safety training and all aspects of safety awareness pumped into them than any group of general population in Canada. We haven’t measured it but, we can certainly see the benefits that safety awareness made. Compare it to any daily “rush hour” traffic crash rate around Montreal or Toronto.

In the transportation business, we’ve heard a lot about “distracted Nick-2015driving” in the past few years. Can you think of anything more distracting than driving through the dark with next to zero visibility and thirty metre high flames on both sides of the road? Big, scared animals running across your path, trees and objects falling and fearful, “white-knuckled” drivers all around you ready to jam on the brakes at the slightest movement in-front-of them.

The tension those people were under had to be extreme. Starting with personal fear, add to that, scared kids in the back seat, a scared spouse, scared in-laws or out-laws beside you; the immense feeling of responsibility of evacuating your family, pets and what little personal stuff you have, out safely to an unknown circumstance or destination. All the while, trying to keep a special eye out for those you know, travelling on the same road, ahead or behind you. That’s a tremendous amount of distraction for every driver to deal with. I’m certain all “texting” was done by the passengers.

We heard stories of extreme courtesy among drivers. We heard of enduring patience, cool heads, following directions, compliance with authority and individual acts of helping and heroism.

Looting, road rage, panic, gunfire, police brutality, mob action, racism and ethnic differences of the evacuees involved are all descriptive terms that are missing from the Ft. Mac news reports. Oops! Just heard about one kid who was probably planning to rob his neighbour anyway but, because they announced the evacuation, they now, have to call it looting. Any other worldwide cities come to mind? I am certain these people (being human) will eventually get angry and start nit-picking but, what a tribute to the people of Fort McMurray. They were amazing!

It is my personal belief that the collective attitude of the people of Fort McMurray was derived predominately, through the safety culture of its inhabitants. “Big Oil”, a term most often used in a derogatory sense, was actually responsible for instilling that safety culture. Employees bringing that knowledge home, spreading it among family members, neighbours and business connections has built a city mentally prepared to accommodate disaster. That culture played a very big part in the Fort McMurray inhabitants being able to save themselves. It’s infectious and it saved lives.

Sitting in a boring safety class or listening to mundane safety instructions on the job actually rubs off. All kinds of statistics tell us how little we retain from each method of instruction but proven here, collectively, the message is broadened.

So, you “safety folks” out there; keep banging away at it. Keep analyzing the pitfalls, keep building the programs, keep spreading the message.

The listeners? Keep listening with more focused attention, applying the message to yourself and spreading it to your loved ones. Make a point to listen hard enough, that you can go home and teach your spouse and children the safety techniques. I’ve always contended the best way to learn something is to learn it well enough that you can teach it. Share it generously to anybody you can. Make sure to expand that “Beauty” into your community.

I applaud “Big Oil”, the “First Responders”, the “Relief Workers”, even the various governments but especially, the inhabitants of the City of Fort McMurray. “U DUN GOOD!” The Beauty Of Life Is Always In Your Hands!

THINK SAFETY ………………….. EVERYWHERE …………………. ALL THE TIME!

About the Author

Nick Nicholson, is a retired safety practitioner who spent many years researching the human behaviour factors of driver and pedestrian actions. Specifically, he spent 25 of those years devoted to highway crash investigations, regulatory compliance, the design, implementation and presentation of safety programs. Nick enjoyed many hours presenting professional driver enhancement training to adult participants.

As a long time Fleet Safety Council Member (1988) and the Founding Chair (1992-1995) of Council’s Hamilton-Niagara Chapter, he presents his opinions in hopes of improving the safety knowledge of readers. Nick is a firm believer in human advancement through positive attitudes, solution thinking and the understanding that the beauty of life is always in your hands.

Old Uncle Nicky’s Opinions are his own and in no way reflect the opinions of Fleet Safety Council.

What is a Safety Director?

A number of years ago I attended a company Christmas party. After the dinner, two senior executives of the company started a drinking contest. Sambuca bottles were brought out along with shot glasses and the contest began. Some time passed.

A lady (a driver’s wife) strutted up to me and said: “Stop this”! Questioning what she was talking about, she answered, “Well, you’re the Safety Director, stop this nonsense.”

The average person has no idea what a Safety Director is or does. It’s a name that conjures up law enforcement, a keeper of the peace, a person in control of others, and so on. It is also confusing because the title is often lumped in with Enforcement, Peace, and Safety Officers alike. “Safety Officer” – someone on a firing range who ensures ammunition is handled safely.

By the way, when he/she is off duty, none of these titles provide the power to stop people from drinking alcohol. Other than age restrictions for children, the laws do not even address people drinking in a licensed establishment. Only the bartender has responsibilities.

First, in my opinion, the title should never exceed “safety practitioner” unless the person has departmental management authority. Then, the closest name could be “Safety Manager”.

Therein, lies the basis for a safety practitioner. Someone who designs and imparts safety information to both the employer and the employees. It is a long and involved process. Difficult, at times, to reach a balance between the two but, nothing more than a “sales” job.

It gets confusing because safety relies on governmental legislation and not on common sense prevention. Yes, both workplace parties must be advised just what the law says so that compliance is obtained. More importantly, prevention of injuries, casualties and property is the goal of any safety thinking person. No matter who you are, what you do or what title is bestowed upon you, we all should be safety practitioners. The ‘Stay-at-home Mom” is probably the greatest safety practitioner there is in society.

Unfortunately, many company executives are no more intelligent than our lady at the Christmas party. They also confuse the duties. Many expect the safety practitioner to be the cop, to stop infractions, to penalize workers and many safety people jump right in on the bandwagon. They do so because their boss tells them to and because they don’t really, try to understand the purpose of safety information in the first place. Some, get a great kick out of the feeling of power over others. This is not restricted to safety but is a personality trait that shows up in any organization especially, with newly promoted people.

The idea of “safety” is to prevent injuries and “so called” accidents. Just about any means of promoting that message, if it will stop someone from hurting themselves or others, is the proper action to take. The benefit to human life and society, as a whole, warrant us all to think safety.

Promote safety and stay away from confrontation. In my experience, confrontation just gets the recipient’s “back up” and they’ll do the damage in-spite-of the warning. That just “festers” and they’ll keep doing it to themselves forever until they get hurt.

About the Author

Nick Nicholson, is a retired safety practitioner who became a commercial transportation safety specialist spending many years researching the human behaviour factors of driver and pedestrian actions. Specifically, he spent 25 of those years devoted to highway crash investigations, regulatory compliance, design and the implementation and presentation of safety programs. Nick enjoyed many hours presenting professional driver enhancement training to adult participants.

As a long time Member and Founding Chair (1992-1995) of Fleet Safety Council’s Hamilton-Niagara Chapter, he presents his opinions in hopes of improving the safety knowledge of readers. Nick is a firm believer in human advancement through positive attitudes, solution thinking and the understanding that the beauty of life is always in your hands.

“Your Old Uncle Nicky’s Opinions”

Old Uncle Nicky’s Opinions are his own and in no way reflect the opinions of Fleet Safety Council.

Learn more about the AMP System for Ontario

This video is about the new AMP System that was talked about in our lats meeting.

Seats are filling up for the Spring Seminar

The Hamilton Niagara Fleet Safety Council Chapter holds an annual seminar every Spring to help promote safety throughout the transportation industry within Ontario Canada. This year is no different as they are holding a seminar to deal with distracted driving and specifically technology in the cab for professional drivers. The seminars are always well attended and this year is no different. In fact the registrations are well ahead of where they usually are at this time of year and we still have a month to go. To register for the seminar or learn more information about it please visit the registration page. Seating is limited so get your registrations in today!

Register for the Spring Seminar Now!

Spring Seminar Poster 2015
Transportation Technology

Happy Holidays from the Hamilton Niagara Fleet Safety Council

From the team at the Hamilton Niagara Fleet Safety Council, May you have a safe and Happy Holiday Season

Think Safety from the Inside!

When traveling in the midst of winter weather it is important to think about safety from the inside of your vehicle. That means ensuring you have supplies should you get stuck in a snow storm while in your vehicle. Good practice means keeping a blanket, candles, food or water, and keeping the fuel tank full. Could you survive in your car for a day or two should you get snowed in? A good question to ask before heading out the door over the Holidays. Happy Thanksgiving to our American friends.

Have a Safe Halloween!

Happy Halloween Everyone!

Please take extra care tonight as there will be many little ones on the roadways showing off their latest costume creations. Take extra care in residential areas and

Hamilton Niagara Fleet Safety Council
Hamilton Niagara Fleet Safety Council

ensure you follow all road signs and speed limits.

If you are dressing up in costume make sure they can be seen in the dark, don’t cross the street if possible, and watch for motorists that may not see you. Carry a flashlight and stay in well lit areas.

Have a great Halloween!

www.hamiltonniagarafleetsafetycouncil.com

Slow Down! Your family will wait for you!

September Safety Slogan from the members of the Hamilton Niagara Fleet Safety Council

Speed Kills

Everyone is trying to enjoy the last of their summer vacations and many are rushing to new locations for the school year. Help everyone get to their destinations safely by slowing down and being courteous on the roadways. Remember speed kills.

Speeding poster

Safety Tip: Summer Safety-Don’t Text & Drive!

The membership of the Hamilton Niagara Fleet Safety Council of Ontario would like to remind everyone that many folks are on the road trying to visit family and take vacations. Please pay attention on the roadways and don’t text and drive. Have a great summer!

hands-free-Safety Poster