As each of us know our personal health and wellbeing is critical to many of those that depend upon us every day. Someone once said that virtually everyone is "4 steps" away from knowing almost everyone in the country in which we live. What this means is that whether we know it or not, our actions touch and affect many more people than we think. Thus, the impact of a personal injury touches many, many people, other than just us.
Too often, we don't consider this as we go about our daily lives, from driving to work to mowing the yard or picking up the children from school. The most routine tasks present threats to our safety when taken lightly. At the other extreme, emotions created from fatigue or anger often elicits poor decisions with great risk to us and others. Perhaps the most common example of this is known as "road rage".
"Behavior" is defined by Merriam-Webster as follows:
a. The manner of conducting oneself
b. Anything that an organism does involving action and response to stimulation
c. The response of an individual, group, or species to its environment
Accidents happen when we least expect them, almost always as a result of a behavior which presents increased risk. These unsafe behaviors can either be deliberate or out of ignorance. In either case, it is important to eliminate them to reduce the risks around us including those that could result in an injury. We gain wisdom by learning from mistakes and modifying our behavior. In the case of safety, we certainly don't want to learn by making mistakes which will result in an accident. We want to learn from others experience and wisdom, eliminating unsafe behaviors and reducing risks.
A behavior based safety system (BBS) is founded upon proactively
examining how we go about our daily routine and work tasks and
eliminating actions which present risk of injury to ourselves or
others . Some of the most valuable information we can gather comes
from evaluating and analyzing trends in near miss incidents. These
are the leading indicators of unsafe behaviors, which most likely
will result in an accident.
While EMS has one of the best safety records in the industry we are re-launching our BBS in 2012, focusing on training and re-training all of our personnel. We will be changing our observation cards which we use to track critical safe behavior information, including near miss's. Thiswill allow much more efficient collection and review of important trends. A safety council will be convened with representation from each part of our labor force, to review observation information, modify processes and train our personnel in safe work practices. The goal of this system is to even further reduce injuries to our employees and create an even safer work environment. It's in each of our best interest to look to our colleagues to help us all work safely, going home to those that care about us and who depend upon us.
Each of you have my personal commitment to helping EMS achieve the next level in our safety culture. We have much to be proud of and many opportunities to become the benchmark in our industry. Thanks for your efforts, I'm sure they will result in impressive results.