Before I started writing about safety, I didn’t give it much thought. I wasn’t reckless or careless. I guess I just was never aware.
I knew about OSHA, but I never knew there were people whose main role it was to make sure I go home safe every day. I’ve worked for small companies and always assumed safety fell to the HR manager.
I assumed the HR manager worked with insurance to make notes in the employee handbook, and we just signed it to say we wouldn’t do anything stupid on the job and follow OSHA regulations. I was naïve to think more didn’t go into keeping employees safe.
Maybe it comes from having a false sense of security, or maybe the people I came into contact with throughout my life were able to protect me and make sure I knew what the meaning of the phrase "running with scissors."
Whatever the reason, you know what they say about people who assume…and I admit I’m guilty.
The expression "running with scissors" originates from a 1950s/1960s public safety film marketed to children about hidden dangers and how to address them, according to sources.
Now that I am encountering people and companies who make the wrong calls, and I see the OSHA reports about the grave consequences they face such as employee injury or death, I am more conscious about what I do in my everyday life to make sure I take care of myself and others.
In August, I purchased a 170cc scooter to ride around town, perform errands and enjoy longer destination rides on the weekends. Under Ohio law, that meant I needed a motorcycle endorsement.
Most people would take the standard test and be done with it, but I wanted to be safe. I researched the statistics; motorcycles are 27 times more likely to be in an accident than a car and only 62 percent of fatally-injured motorcycle drivers wore helmets.
I bought the appropriate gear (gloves, boots, helmet with face shield, etc...) and signed up for a class from the Motorcycle Safety Foundation.
Two techniques stuck out to me during the class: Search, Evaluate, Execute (SEE) and Slow, Look, Press and Roll. These two are very similar with their message, but both are able to be implemented into everyday situations in order to stay safe. I not only became a proficient novice rider, I took that knowledge and implemented it at home, at the grocery store, while running and in my everyday live.
I now search my surroundings before I walk into a room, park or establishment. I evaluate the situation — Is it safe? What can be done to make it safe for me and others? If it is not, who can I tell or what can I do? Once I determine what I should do, I execute on the decision.
For my personal safety and the safety of others, my next step to being safe was becoming CPR-certified.
Since I began running in local parks on single-track, secluded trails, I admit that I have developed an innate fear of not being prepared if something happens to me or another runner (I only run with groups on these trails). When my employer announced that a CPR/first aid course was going to be offered, I jumped at the chance.
The instructor began the course by asking our group of 10 whether our office had an emergency plan should a medical emergency occur. His question was met with that dangerous phrase "I don’t know." Does everyone know where the first aid kit is located in our office and what is in it? "I don’t know." Does the office have an AED? "I don’t know."
He then stressed why it’s so important for someone to respond: more than 90 percent of cardiac arrests outside the hospital result in death, and only 32 percent of those who experience cardiac arrest get help from a bystander, according to the American Heart Association.
This is when I came to the realization that I have been running with scissors. I don’t want to be that bystander who doesn’t know CPR. I don’t want to be that person who can’t lend a helping hand in an emergency situation. I don’t want to be that person who doesn’t know.
Taking these training courses has made me accept personal responsibility for my safety and others. I no longer assume that I am safe. I no longer am complacent or naïve. I know that if I search, evaluate and execute every situation, I might be able to find those hidden dangers and address them.
In the end, I just don’t want to be caught running with scissors.