“Truly superior pilots are those who use their superior judgment to avoid those situations where they might have to use their superior skills.” This was a safety slogan I once saw on a poster in a flight operations office during my days as a pilot in the Navy. The poster was developed by the Naval Safety Center as part of an effort to change a culture of arrogance and recklessness that had led to many unnecessary losses. They wanted to refocus pilot and aircrew ratings on how well they planned for missions, identified hazards and controlled risks. In other words, they wanted their workforce to exercise good judgment.
Now at O&G, over a decade later, this message holds as true as it did when I first read it. Simply substitute the word operator, driver, mechanic, laborer, carpenter, supervisor or manager for pilot. It doesn’t matter what industry you are in or what your occupation may be: the superior performer is the individual or team that consistently uses good judgment to avoid taking unnecessary risk.
With great pride I can state that the O&G workforce is living up to this expectation in all aspects. Our record stands for itself. We have not suffered a lost-time accident in any of our quarries since 2010. Additionally, we had only two lost-time accidents in our quarries in the last decade. That is remarkable when you consider that the statistics include five busy sites and hundreds of thousands of work hours.
A record like this is not due to luck. It is the accomplish-ment of a workforce dedicated to safety. Our dedication is evident in the continual application of the S.L.A.M. (Stop, Look, Analyze, Manage) principle, the daily use of Job Safety Task Analysis worksheets, and the adaptation and implementation of lessons learned throughout the industry. These are the tools we use to maintain solid judgment when, as humans, our decision-making falls to the pressures of time, personal problems, weather and even demanding bosses.
While such bold proclamations about the safety performance of our workforce could be a setup for failure, I am confident that the skills we have honed will keep us safe for many years to come.
I will, however, end on a cautionary note due to the ever changing, dynamic environment in which we operate. This wisdom is again taken from a memorable Navy poster: “Complacency or a false sense of security should not be allowed to develop as a result of long periods without an accident or serious incident.”
While we are safe today, we are not automatically safe tomorrow. It is up to all of us to remain vigilant, to exercise good judgment and to make the right decisions when it comes to our safety.
Here’s to a job well done!
Thank you and stay safe,
Assistant Vice President, Materials Division