Tomorrow, October 24 is Make a Difference Day – one of the largest national days of community service. For more than twenty years on this day, volunteers and communities have united in a common mission to improve the lives of others.

It’s a day where individuals, corporations, community organizations and others participate in projects and events across the country; events that make an impact for the good. Whether it’s a community clean-up, building and repairing housing facilities, donating goods and services to the less fortunate, staging marathons or other fundraisers for a worthy cause or just buying lunch or a cup of coffee for someone just trying to get through another day, we can all find a way to make a difference. Make a Difference Day draws attention to that and puts it “up close and personal” on our radar. And that’s a great thing.

I would challenge that for each of us Make a Difference Day should be every day. A kind word, a helping hand, a note of encouragement, a moment to listen, a nod of understanding or even just a smile can make all the difference in the world for someone in need. That means it’s not all about “us”, it’s about “them”. It means we need to look outside ourselves, past our own circumstances, our own world and reach out. Pay it forward and make it happen.

There's a quote that says, "Never doubt that one person can make a difference.” Be that person.



Safety training need a tune-up?

Okay, I admit it. When it comes to "wear and tear" my car experience its share. I try to be diligent with maintenance, but there are times when a scheduled tune-up takes a back burner to other things. Actually, it's pretty easy to put off. As long as the car is running okay and getting me where I need to go, who needs maintenance? Wrong. If I want my car to continue performing at a top rate, it needs a regular tune-up.

Same thing holds true for workplace safety training. It's not a "one and done" program; but a process that needs to evolve and change with the environment. That requires frequent and regular tune-ups. 

What does that mean? For example, how many times a year do you conduct safety training? Is that enough to cover all employees? What about the new hires, part-timers and outside contractors? How are they trained? Regardless of time spent in your facility, proper training is critical. Without it you could be placing employees and your facility at great risk.

When there are changes in procedures, new rules or regulations how do you communicate them? Is it a memo, a notice on the bulletin board, an email, a meeting? Are you sure that the communication method you use is the best for everyone? Are people missing the message? How do you know?

How do they learn about new technologies, new equipment, and new products? Have there been any changes in accident rates? If so, can you pinpoint why? What’s working and what could be better?

Lots to consider but the answers to these questions will give you a good diagnostic of your program and tell you which areas need a tune-up. That way you can keep your safety training program running on all cylinders at the highest performance level.


Posted by MJ Thomas

How many hats do you wear?

It’s Mad Hatter Day – a day based on the Mad Hatter found in Lewis Caroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. It’s a day to generally be silly, put seriousness aside for a day and maybe even wear a hat. So why is this important?

Well, it made me think about just how many hats most of us wear. Not in the true sense of the word, but in the number of roles and responsibilities we take on each day. For most of us, wearing many hats is pretty much the norm.

Employer, employee, supervisor, problem solver, parent, teacher, friend, care giver, and the list goes on. Trying to balance all those “hats” can be overwhelming. What happens when that pile of hats gets too tall? It falls leaving hats everywhere.

So, now what? Take control. Establish priorities and determine which of your tasks are the most important. What needs to get done first, what can wait, what’s negotiable? Put things in perspective and remember – priorities do not run horizontal and nobody said it would be easy.

Break things down to parts that are manageable; one step at a time and be realistic about expectations of time. Then do it! Take action. Why? When we let ourselves get overwhelmed, we get stuck. We spend so much time stressing about all we have to do that we can’t do anything and that makes us more stressed and farther behind.

Laughter is a great stress reliever and it’s healthy. Sure, what you are doing is serious business, but allow yourself to take a breather, clear your head, walk away from it for a little while, listen to music, sing, whatever. When you come back to it, you’ll be surprised at how much more productive you are.

Ask for help. Really? How many times did you need help but didn’t ask for it because you didn’t want people to think you couldn’t handle things; didn’t want them to think less of you? We all need help from time to time. That’s just the way it is.

So next time you feel the tower of hats on your head starting to tilt, take control. In the words of the Mad Hatter, you don’t want to lose your “muchness.”

As a side note, ever wonder how the term “Mad as a hatter” came about? In 18th and 19th century England mercury was used in the production of felt used to make hats. People working in this industry were exposed to the mercury and often exhibited symptoms associated with mercury poisoning, including behavior that led to others viewing them as “mad”.

And there you have it.

 

 

 

Safety for all seasons

We’re just about a week into fall and things will start changing.  Days will get shorter; the leaves on the trees will change colors; the temperatures will cool down, the air will be crisper; fall sports are in the spotlight; comfort foods will replace summer fare and it will soon be sweater weather.  These things are seasonal; happening or needed during a certain time of year.  Each season has its own characteristics: things that are “normal” for that certain time of year and that includes safety risks.

While some safety issues are only applicable at certain times during the year, safety –  being safe, following safety procedures and always being aware of potential safety issues – should be a year-round, daily top-of-the-mind subject; especially in the workplace.

Safety in the workplace is not something that just happens; it is planned, implemented and practiced every day. It has to be for it to work. Every employee needs to take responsibility for it and that starts at the top. It is a priority, not something that can be placed on the back burner, not something that there’s no budget for or even an area where you can cut corners. Safety is more than a slogan on a wall poster. Set your safety standards high and make safe practices part of your company’s daily routine. People’s lives and livelihoods depend on it.


Posted by MJ Thomas

Workplace Safety is NOT a one and done

Workplace safety is not a one and done. It's a process that needs to evolve and change with the environment. It's a process that requires frequent tune-ups.

What does that mean? For example, how many times a year do you conduct safety training? Is that enough to cover all employees? What about the new hires, part-timers and outside contractors? How are they trained? Regardless of time spent in your facility, proper training is critical. Without it you could be placing employees and your facility at great risk.

When there are changes in procedures, new rules or regulations how do you communicate them? Is it a memo, a notice on the bulletin board, an email, a meeting? Are you sure that the communication method you use is the best for everyone? Are people missing the message? How do you know?

How do they learn about new technologies, new equipment, and new products? Have there been any changes in accident rates? If so, can you pinpoint why? What’s working and what could be better? Are your facilities and people protected in the best way possible?

Lots to consider but the answers to these questions will give you a good diagnostic of your program and tell you which areas need a tune-up. That way you can keep your safety training program running on all cylinders at the highest performance level.

How sweet it is!


Today is National Doughnut Day, celebrated on the first Friday in June of each year. Lest you think it’s just an opportunity to get a free “ring-shaped sweet snack made of fried dough, usually rolled in sugar or glazed with icing and filled with jam, custard, or cream,” here’s the real story.

Over the years, much of the meaning of this holiday has been lost to history. The tradition started with a young military doctor who on his way to reporting to the military base decided to pick up some doughnuts. Throughout the day, while helping wounded soldiers, he passed out those doughnuts. The practice caught on and was used during World War I at the canteens where the military would attend to the soldier’s needs at the front. It was a way to cheer up soldiers risking their lives and limbs in the trenches during the war.

Doughnut Day became a way to raise awareness about the war and to raise funds for Salvation Army's activities on the battlefield. It also celebrates the men and women who served soldiers during World War I.

So, when you visit your local doughnut store today, remember, this day is about more than a “free sweet treat.”

Enjoy.


Posted by MJ Thomas


A time to remember…


On Monday, May 27, people in cities and towns across the United States will celebrate Memorial Day – the American holiday, observed on the last Monday in May – commemorating the men and women who died while in the military service of their country.

Over the years, this holiday has come to mean different things to different people. There are parades, family gatherings, barbecues and cook outs, cemetery and memorial visits, wearing of the red poppy, a three-day weekend, holiday sales and for some, the unofficial start of summer.

First and foremost, though, it is a day of remembrance for the veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. It’s a day to honor the sacrifice of those who did not return from defending our liberties in battle; those who are currently serving to preserve those liberties; remember family and friends no longer with us and cherish the ones that are; appreciate what we have and renew our hopes for the future.

In the words of John F. Kennedy, “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter the words, but to live by them.”

Happy Memorial Day!


Posted by MJ Thomas