Reflections On National Safety And Health (Naosh) Week

Reflections On National Safety And Health (Naosh) Week

Posted on May 30, 2019

By Reg Kmet, Safety Facilitator

It’s funny how time can make our memories fade. The demands of day-to-day living take their toll and we end up focused on tomorrow’s to-do list. The past fades quickly with only the big moments and significant milestones standing out.

On Sunday, May 5, 2019 the Made Safe team participated in the Steps for Life Walk in support of families of victims of workplace accidents and illnesses and I was reminded of one of those memories that had faded. Steps for Life was just one of the many events Made Safe participated in over the course of National Safety and Health Week (formerly known as NAOSH week), and is intended to cast a light on the devastating effects that workplace injuries and fatalities can have on families, friends, co-workers and communities.

It was a crisp, cool morning with a few flurries in the air – Mother Nature’s way of reminding us we live in Winnipeg. We lined up to hear the opening remarks and after listening to a moving testimonial on the impact of a workplace fatality on the speaker’s family member, we began our walk. Along the way, I thought about how fortunate I was to never have been impacted by a workplace fatality; a weight I can only imagine would be near impossible for surviving coworkers and families to bear. As we completed our 5k walk, we toured the memorial dedicated to fallen workers and there it was.  I was taken back to that October day in my final year of high school when we all got the news that a friend, one of our classmates, had passed away due to a workplace incident. Instantly those feelings came rushing back. The sights, the sounds, the people in the room, everything was just as vivid as the day it all happened.

I’ve worked in manufacturing for 15 years in various capacities but it was in this moment that I truly internalized the impact that safety can have in all our lives. It isn’t an operational issue – it’s a human one. I felt guilt that memory had faded, but I was grateful for the reminder. It helped me empathize with the victims and families and reminded me just how important the work we do at Made Safe truly is.

Training and awareness are key in preventing tragedies like this from happening and industry-led safety associations like ours are at the forefront of these efforts. Manufacturing injuries are down by half and it’s our mission to get them down to zero. In the course of my career, I fully believe we will accomplish this.

Events like the Steps for Life Walk are so important to remind us of the lasting impact of every workplace accident. This year, the Made Safe team included not just our core team of safety professionals, but a number of others in our organization who aren’t impacted by the gut-wrenching impacts of tragedies like this every day. I know my sense of purpose was renewed on May 5, and I believe their lives were touched as well. I encourage everyone to consider entering a team next year and to consider not just the operational team involved in the day-to-day safety standards but everyone in your organization.

Safety isn’t just an operational responsibility. It’s everyone’s.