How playing the guitar helped me better understand workplace safety

How playing the guitar helped me better understand workplace safety

Posted on April 6, 2017

By Mat Olson, Marketing & Communications Intern

Safety is a lot like playing music.

No, really. There are some interesting ties between my infatuation with everything that is musical and safety – aside from singing Bee Gees or complaining about a friend’s choice in friends who can’t dance. As the marketing communications intern supporting Made Safe, I’m no safety expert by any means (yet). That being said, from my meager amount of experience with high school programs and common sense lessons from my dad, I’ve picked up just a few stark similarities that can really help you pick up the rhythm and get in the safety groove.

1.       Time management

Everybody knows that picking up an instrument takes time out of your day. You’ve got to invest the time and effort into learning and memorizing chords, scales and progressions; all of the fun stuff. The same is true for safety. You need to get the appropriate training (In my case it was seven straight years of WHMIS training and tests, because school). Once you have that training, playing your instrument of choice becomes not only safer, but it’s more enjoyable.

 

2.       Practice, practice, practice

Practicing has always been a major weakness for me. But I recognize how much better I could be after years of guitar if I had stuck to a schedule and practiced. As with anything, practicing makes you better. It’s a focus on continuous improvement and that’s the big focus. As with safety, learning to stick to a routine can help you fine tune your specialty machine inside and out. Spotting errors is quick and easy; thinking about it every day will become natural, and you’ll be able to apply safety to everyday life if you have a real passion for it.

 

3.       Get the right/good equipment

When I got my first real guitar, I didn’t limit my budget just because I was learning. I went out and bought a nice one with a Floyd Rose on it, because it looked shiny, impressive and fun (these opinions have changed slightly). What I didn’t know about this fantastic contraption was that it took an extra hour to set up and tune any time I wanted to restring the guitar. It also restricted my tuning flexibility in order to achieve perfect tuning stability. At the time, it was fun. Now, I don’t play it because I can’t tune it without having to set it up again. It’s a pain. In safety speak, you should make sure you’re researching the equipment that you’re going to be buying, and be certain that it’s appropriate for the work at hand. For example, when buying a pair of steel toed boots, every company will have its own policy for which kind of boot to be worn; the height of the boot, whether it’s rated for electrical work or if it needs lace covers are all important to research. Like making sure your guitar is tuned properly for the genre of music you’re playing, you should make sure your safety equipment is tuned to the genre of work that requires it. That’s not to say it shouldn’t be high quality, though. Guitar quality only goes so far when it comes to the tone of your sound. The quality of your personal protection equipment can easily mean the difference between arriving home safely or not.

 

Music and safety have a funny relationship. If you know how to play an instrument, but aren’t too familiar with safety, I hope this article will help lay out some ground rules. Inversely, if you love safety but haven’t picked up an instrument, I encourage it. Both are fulfilling in their own ways. It’s never too late to start.