Is Elevator Safety a “Silent Majority” or just a “Vocal Minority”?


Being a member of NAESA International I'm proud to be part of something that is concerned about safety as they are.  With permission Bob Shepherd allowed me to share his letter from the executive director from last months Progress. I have to say that the Progress is one of the best informational pieces I look forward to reading each month.  Thank you Bob for being so passionate about safety and for never letting up when it would be so easy to do so. - Tom Sybert

Is Elevator Safety a “Silent Majority” or just a “Vocal Minority”? - Written by Bob Shepherd - Executive Director - NAESA International -

Bob Shepherd - Executive Director

Bob Shepherd - Executive Director

I hear and experience a lot about safety policies and procedures from pretty much the same group of people at safety meetings and at rare safety venues, but it is infrequent to hear those same policies and procedures repeated, reinforced or practiced by the people on the front lines, the end users who are the most vulnerable, the working men and women out there in the field. How can we get the Silent Majority to join and believe the Vocal Safety Minority? Many companies, if they have a safety person at all, employ one person who is tasked to identify safety needs, then educate, reinforce and audit safety, while hopefully instilling in each and every worker a lasting safety attitude, this safety person needs to have an optimism possessing tireless energy to keep the safety message and the safe environment flourishing. I am not a negative person, in actuality I am the exact opposite, but I am a realist and even though safety is taught with the best intentions and expectations, too many times the safety message falters and becomes a case of, I am out of sight, so I am out of mind for the recipient/worker. Once the safety audit is over, the next thought is: who won that ballgame, instead of let’s try to keep the positive safe work habits going. Seems to be, that far too many people suffer from:  Elevator Safety Attention Deficit Disorder, let me call it ESADD. I know, another acronym, but if it is not an app or an acronym, today’s crowd won’t even discuss it let alone actually know and practice it. Not surprising at all with so many endless distractions we have in this crazy world of ours. Funny, even when we find some downtime and a rare peaceful moment, we just can’t let it remain so, let’s grab the device and open an app. If you do have a few minutes to exhale and relax, you can’t live without looking at what is on your smartphones, try putting your phones away, you may like experiencing what we have sadly lost, which was the time to think and be free of the non-beneficial brainwashing.
Now back to safety!
How can every one of us avoid not suffering from ESADD (Elevator Safety Attention Deficit Disorder)? Do we even have time to exhale today with all the distractions and interferences to our concentration on work and safety thoughts? Good thing breathing is an involuntary action, or we would all be dead from lack of air as we are distracted and forget to breath. Think of when you are out there in the field, regardless of your duties, whether you are a technician, inspector, consultant, safety person, yes even a safety person. Think about how many phone calls, emails and text messages you are involved with while trying to do your task at hand. The entire time you are trying to stay focused on the task at hand, let alone safety, someone says, “hold on or excuse me while I take this call or when you are multi-tasking to read an email or text and reply while trying to stay focused on the people with you”. People do not focus on the right now, but are always looking past the right now so concentration is lost. This is only one type of distraction, now add what is going on in your head at most times of your busy day and night. Distractions like: financial struggles, relationship issues, work load, next stop to make, job security concerns, family and personal health issues, thoughts of vacations, kid’s needs and on and on it goes like the bunny. So how is there even room for safety in that crowded, crazy and busy head? I know a few safety people who seem to be not focused on the here and now and quite too often give the feeling to others that they are always thinking to the next item or just getting done, we all in safety need to connect to each individual personally. Let’s call it good bedside manners, think of the right now and what is before you, instead of who you will see next or what next needs to be done. Be that safety doctor who really listens and takes time with the ailing patient, try harder to connect, gain trust and make a safety friend, not just a business associate and payroll number.
The next distraction is: nothing happens fast enough. Whether it is your own opinion, your employer or the customer. Everyone thinks it is taking too long or the wheels set in motion are moving too slowly. Think as you are driving down the road how fast you drive when taking the shortest trip. Hardly anyone obeys the speed limits anymore. If a person doesn’t speed along with the crazies now, you may and more often than not, bear the brunt of obscenities, aggressive drivers and possible road rage. Think about it, you are behind the wheel of your car, taking a five-minute ride to some store. The speed limit is 45mph, but you dive 60mph through the residential area with total disregard of the posted speed limit and the hazards you may create. Whoopee, you get to your destination 30 seconds sooner, I hope you take advantage of the added foolish time saved. The same is true for the hurry up and get it done attitude in the workplace. For whatever reason, once and a while there is no time for safety, but we can find the time to apply a band aid on that cut finger or make a trip to the emergency room or worse. In today’s world we have a hurry up and wait attitude, why? Because nothing happens fast enough in this high-speed world, from internet access to restaurant service to package delivery to fixing elevators in hopes of keeping the masses happy. I personally would rather slow down, think and live, why wouldn’t you?
Why Dreaming Big Can Help Save a Life

Hopes, dreams and goals are what should help drive people to work safe and help others stay safe!
Hopes and dreams are a huge part of safety, because your hopes and dreams of your future depend on and should ultimately guide your daily safety strategy.
So, dreaming big is exactly what you need to do to stay safe and to help keep others safe. You need to work hard on safety, and stick to it.
Because a big dream is important, and will help you set your safety goals, but it is only the first step, but it could be the most important step on a given day
What dreams and goals do you hold in your heart, which will make you want to live a long time and help avoid ESADD? I will share my most important dream and goal in my life, now that I am getting older. A thought I live by: dreams and goals are pretty much the same, except that goals have deadlines. So, my dream is a simple one, achieving this goal might be the difficult part though. I have two children and until three years ago I didn’t have any grandchildren and never expected any since both of my children are up in years, but it happened. Now I have three grandchildren, twins from my daughter and son-in-law and a little boy from my son and daughter-in-law. My grandchildren are now my life and probably the most important reason why I want to walk this earth for as long as possible. I actually only knew one of my grandparents and have no memory of the other three which were gone from my life long before memories of them could be retained in a young child’s head. Now my dream: I want to live long enough so that my grandchildren will remember me and then in some way know that I touched their young lives and had a positive influence on who they may become. Every day, whether home, working, vacationing or really doing nothing at all, think safety and protect your dreams. You and I can’t realize dreams and achieve goals if we are not here walking amongst them.  
I don’t believe for one minute that enough is being done in the name of safety to bring the human being into safety, where’s the passion and compassion? Where are the programs to keep family and their dreams in safety daily? I know of a few who try, but very few! Write all the safety procedures you wish, but until the end user realizes what will be lost if safety is ignored or abbreviated, accidents will continue to happen, and more lives will be lost. We need to have a take your child to work day every day in your hearts! Make Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and every other special day each and every day and then add a “Let’s All Live Day” to every one of those days!
Stop, think and consider who needs you and the wishes you still have in life to satisfy your dreams and attain your goals. Please become part of the vocal safety minority and help it foster a safety focused majority, this is the best path to living and realizing your dreams and achieving your goals, for you and the others you touch. I know at times I ramble on as I try to deliver the safety message, but I believe my heart is in the right place. I am by no means a safety expert, but I will use every ounce of my energy and whatever expertise I have to try and avoid an accident and in turn try to save a life.

Think about what brings joy to you and others, don't let an accident steal your joy!

On an almost closing note: summer is close, and many dangers await the uninformed, the foolish or the too young to know better group. Many hazards await the, I can’t wait to get outside crowd when taking advantage of the warm weather, vacations with the no rules or no caution needed attitude some have. Danger can lurk at every turn, from amusement rides, watercraft, lakes, oceans, swimming pools, motorsports, hiking, camping, mountain climbing, sunburn risk and on and on the list goes. Don’t let your vacation and summer season experience end in an emergency room. Contemplate all the risk involved with your summer activity and mitigate all the risk, it only takes a minute to plan, but not doing so, may cause a lifetime of pain or loss. Above all, please don’t drink and drive and put those cell phones down when driving. I live in a seashore summer resort area and I see weekly what happens when alcohol is not kept separate from motorized vehicles. My experience has been only an inconvenience so far with the electric being off till the power company can replace the pole hit by the intoxicated driver, but too many times the ultimate price is paid by the thoughtless and more sadly the innocent. I have seen this first hand far too often as a younger man, when I was a volunteer fireman. Don’t take the risk!

Let’s continue to work together to help save lives by doing whatever it takes, life is worth the effort! I love you all and I want all of you here with me for many years to come!
Thanks for listening and your support, be safe!
          Bob Shepherd                                                     
          “Stay Safety Pinned”