Setting a good example is not a “put-on.”

Our Safety leader leads our safety efforts at the four treating plants. He says the following is the first thoughts he shares with his teammates. He gave me permission to share it with all of you:

This is the first safety minute I put out every year:


Setting a good example is not a “put-on.”  It’s simply working safety into your daily routine at home and on the job.  When we work safely, everyone’s job is safe and their future secure.

New employees certainly benefit from seeing operations conducted the safe way.  As you all know from experience, people new on the job take a while to adjust and to discover who they are in the overall set-up of the plant.  New employees who had never held a job before or were employed by a firm that had a weak safety program probably will need considerable safety instruction.  We’ll attempt to give it to them, but naturally, they also observe and seek advice and information from supervisors and fellow workers.  These early impressions of you and safety operations will be at least partially formed through these contact and observations.

“Do as I say; not as I do” is a pretty tired expression, and got tired because we all have repeated it many times, not just verbally but through our actions; and actions speak louder than words.  When we leave our safety glasses resting on our foreheads rather than in place over our eyes, or when we kick a piece of wood out of our way rather than pick it up, we’re selling safety, but it’s a useless soft sell.  Our actions are saying, “I believe in wearing eye protection but not in protecting my eyes; and I know trash can cause a tripping accident, but it isn’t important enough to make me pick it up.”

There’s another angle to set good examples.  Too often people dress to impress others with their good taste rather than their knowledge of safety.  Wearing rings, bracelets, and other ornaments are dangerous around machinery where it’s possible for jewelry to be caught by moving parts thus causing an injury to the wearer.  Baggy shirts, floppy pants, and long hair can be hazardous as well.

So, we should always dress for the job.  Our image as a fashion expert may suffer but will give way to the more important and more beneficial image of safety.

Everyone knows that the PPE required to walk into a Sunbelt Forest Products facility is Safety Glasses, Long Pants, and Hard Soled Closed Toed shoes.  If you’re in the Bartow facility Ear Protection is also required at all times.  It’s easy to allow an outside salesperson or a visitor to slip onto the plant because “they are only going to be a minute.”  What does that tell the employees?

To quote the sign hanging above my desk “Asking me to overlook a simple safety violation would be asking me to compromise my entire attitude toward the value of your life.”

Accidents are a reality.  Make your personal safety just as real.  Lead by example so everyone can “Do as you DO.”

At any given point in time, almost one-third (almost 500) of us have been on the team less than 90 days. There is a constant need to teach and to model the right way to do things: safe, engaged and lean. Please step up to leading where you stand. It will make a big difference. 

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