Almost everywhere we look today, we see superheroes. With Halloween nipping at our heels, the stores are advertising how we can dress up like the Hulk, or Catwoman, or Captain America. Heroes seems to have a pretty high profile right now in movies, books, video games and marketers tell us all the time that we can be just like them.
In the midst of Hurricane Sandy imposing its wrath on the northeastern U.S. it is natural of me to think of the heroes that will emerge and be presented to us in the media. We have everyone in Sandy’s path in our minds and we are glued to the news with the rest of the country.
As an accreditor, I also think of the unsung heroes within every accredited organization, the Safety Officers. Their jobs are to monitor and control all issues surrounding safety in the workplace on a daily basis. They are the heroes that manage the preventative maintenance of those areas that could potentially cause accidents or injuries and nudge us in to conducting drills when there isn’t a cloud in the sky and the sun is shining bright.
Just like all of our favorite superheroes, the Safety Officer has to be in tune to both the internal and external environments and then manage the predictability or likelihood of the worst happening and plan for those events. It is everyone else’s responsibility then to heed the directives of the Safety Officer to run the drills, practice taking shelter, enforce the telephone calling tree, and all other activities deemed necessary.
The Safety Officers’ heroism in every organization is not because they leap tall buildings in a single bound, but because they review and study the probability of risks, weather, infection control and accidents. Their responsibility is for others, just as Batman took responsibility for Gotham City. But no Safety Officer works alone. Just as Batman had his Robin, the SO has to also rely upon the employees to be alert and tuned in to potential hazards and issues too. The SO doesn’t work in a vacuum and cannot be effective without the observations and the cooperation of all coworkers.
I’m sure as the storm winds down, stories will emerge about folks who went above and beyond in the time of great need. I’d like to thank the Safety Officers of the organizations for their commitment to prevention on a daily basis and without whom there would be far more confusion in our work-worlds. Keep up the good work and always Keep Quality Continuous!