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Ripple Effect: Exploring Serious Occupational Injuries and Fatalities for Positive Change

Ripple Effect: Exploring Serious Occupational Injuries and Fatalities for Positive Change

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Barrett:
All right. Welcome to our webcast, Ripple Effect, Exploring Occupational Fatalities for Positive Change. First, thanks for being here. This bit is sponsored by Vivid Learning Systems. For those of you not yet familiar with our company, Vivid is an online safety training provider. But our business is really more about making life easier for safety professionals like you. My name is Barrett, I'm with Vivid. I'll be serving as your host today. So really, my plan is to introduce our chief safety officer, Jill James, and just get out of the way. Because she's got an incredible true story to share with you. Before I do that, there's one thing that we do need to cover quickly. And that's the Q and A icon. Folks, it's really simple to operate. We expect to have plenty of time for Q and A before the hour is up. We want you to participate. And so, please send in your questions for Jill any time throughout the session. Okay?

Now, it's my pleasure to introduce Jill James. Let me say that she is probably one of the warmest personalities I've encountered in this business. Jill brings us 12 years of experience as a senior OSHA safety investigator, nearly a decade of safety professionalism in the private sector. And now, thankfully, she's with us, serving as our top safety evangelist, which allows her to bring stories like this one forward. Folks, I've had the extreme pleasure of listening to this talk recently. And I'm going to warn you in advance, this is an emotional story. But it's one I know you're going to enjoy. So Jill, are you ready to win some hearts and minds out there today?

Jill James:
Yes, I am. Thank you Barret. 18 years ago, I got a phone all. The voice on the other end was asking me, "Do you want us to hold the scene until you get here?"

"Did you take the photographs?" I asked. The deputy who was calling me said that he had taken the photographs and measurements too. So, I asked him if he would please release the body to the family. I didn't want him lying out there. I was still an hour and a half away. Now, before I got that call, a mechanic named Donnie was on his two way radio, listening to Todd, his coworker, repeat, "He's dead. He's dead. Nick is dead." And moments later, Donnie called 9-1-1. Across town, Patty was working as an administrative assistant for the largest employer in the community. She was asked to report to the executive conference rom and she didn't know why. She thought, "What did I do wrong?" Or maybe, "I did something right."

When she walked into the conference room, she saw a bunch of people from her Personnel Department, the local priest, a deputy sheriff, and a familiar face from her husband's work. "What's going on?" She asked. Everyone was silent. And for a minute, time was still. The deputy broke the silence by asking Patty to identify herself and she did. The deputy said that her husband had been killed at work. He was ran over by a bulldozer. Nick was dead at the age of 30. One of Patty's many thoughts was about the night before. Nick's mom came over and made her son's favorite meal, ham and scalloped potatoes. Nick was that kind of guy that everyone loved. He was always happy, so happy that some days Patty could hardly stand it, if you know the type. And in her words, "He was rarely an ass. There was an uncommon kindness to him."

Nick was that guy who sent flowers to his wife at work to the envy of other women. He was a skinny guy with a 28 inch waste. He was the sort of guy who gets up at 4:30 in the morning to go hunting with his best friend. Patty said she couldn't stand him the first time they met, weathering a multi hour car trip in a Minnesota snowstorm with Patty's brother and Nick's sister. But over time, Patty's opinion changed. They fell in love and married in 1990, making their home in a small prairie town in southwestern Minnesota. Nick started working for a small excavation company. And when it came to community involvement, the company was involved. Small towns in Minnesota are infamous for their town festivals and the locals that makes them fun.

Soon after starting his job, Nick, on behalf of the company, dressed in drag to compete in the Miss Prairie Pie Competition, singing What's, by the Four Non Blondes. Now, no beauty pageant is complete without the interview portion of the competition. Let's watch Nick during his interview.

Jill James:
That is a very beautiful dress. There's the microphone right over there. Okay. Are you ready for your first question, or your second question?

Nick:
I sure am.

Jill James:
When you get a run in your panty hose, there is one big fix that you can use to stop the run from spreading. What is it?

Nick:
Oh. I just use a little clear fingernail polish, fix it up real nice.

Jill James:
Good answer. Good answer. Okay. Thank you Fannie Mae.

Nick:
Thank you.

Jill James:
Nick took second place in that competition. Patty and Nick had a daughter, Amanda, a blonde cutie who was 5 years old the day her dad, turning 6 two days later. Amanda told her mom that she had seen her dad drive past her daycare the day he died. He waved to his daughter and she waved back. The night before that tragic day in May of '97, Nick's coworker Jay, a handsome young man all of 21 years old, stopped by Patty and Nick's place. Jay had never been to their house before, though he just lived down the street. Jay swung by to ask Nick for a ride to work the next day. Nick teased Jay almost like a son, instructing him to be on time and waiting out on the sidewalk the next morning. And that next morning, on his way out of their house, Nick told Patty he loved her one last time and went off to pick up Jay.

Back then, I was working as a safety investigator with the state of Minnesota. I was 26 years old. I had only been on the job for a year and a half. Nick's death was the ninth accident I had investigated and my fifth fatality case. My job was to determine if Nick's employer had violated any federal or state OSHA laws. So, I gathered evidence from the scene, reviewed employer safety materials, and interviewed employees to help piece together what happened, and to affirm or deny safety training against the company records. I also had to gather information on the victim's next of kin for the government to send them a letter of condolence. That was my job. That was my job for each of the fatality or serious injury cases I investigated in the 12 years I was a safety inspector.

Jill James:
On that day, my job took me to a windy prairie in southwestern Minnesota. The job site was located at one of those little banks, a single story square structure. Nick, Todd, Jay and Quinn were working to build a drive through lane at the back of the bank. Their job as excavators was to work the earth in preparation for pavement. They were using a payloader, bulldozer, and skip steer loader to widen and flatten and level the ground. Nick's job was to ensure the ground was level and that the correct thickness of ground was cut with each pass of the bulldozer, using something called a grave rod and laser for position, which meant he had to take a measurement each time Jay went over the ground with the bulldozer.

Todd was operating a skip steer loader near by, while Quinn was on a payloader at the other end of the project, piling up the soils, or unused earth. It was during one of these passes of the bulldozer that Jay inadvertently backed over Nick. Back then, a woman named Chris was leading the safety efforts for Nick's company, a job she gave to herself along with the bookkeeping and customer service responsibilities. Chris was trying to find a niche for herself in the company she and her husband would eventually buy from her in-laws. Three years before Nick's death, Chris wrote the company's first ever safety program as the results of a new law. Then, she organized and led the company's first ever Safety Training Day.

Looking back, the training day was kind of a flop. She had invited their insurance carrier to do some training, and the guy was kind of a "wah wah" presenter. She also invited a highway patrol officer to do driver training. And he did a little bit better getting the employees involved and mocking up what happens if you break driving laws, putting employees in prison clothes and acting out situations. She was trying. It was Chris who reported Nick's death to the main OSHA office. When I arrived at the job site, I began going through my protocol. The back up alarm on the bull dozer was working. The windows of the bulldozer were clean and unbroken. There were no recalls on the dozer or special warnings about tricky blind spots through the manufacturer, no missing safety devices. Jay, Todd, Nick, Quinn, had all been through safety training.

There were no allegations of horse play, malicious intent, or intoxication regarding any of them. 18 years later, Nick's wife Patty would tell me they were just normal people doing their work. And she was right, all men earning a paycheck, doing good and noble work just like you and just like me. On that day, Patty's brother Bobby picked her up at work. The two of them collapsing on to one another in their grief. She and Bobby really didn't know what to do or how to act. She recalls driving around town with Bobby, the two of them chain smoking cigarettes. Patty wanted to tell her mother but her mom wasn't home and they were trying to contact her. She was also trying to figure out how she was going to tell her 5 year old who was still in day care. Bobby and Patty drove past the bank site. There was yellow tape wrapped around the dozer. Patty remembers watching other cars driving down the street, people going on about their lives, and thinking her life had stopped.

The grief pile continued when Patty and Bobby arrived at their mother's home, where other family members had gathered. The neighborhood was in mourning. Soon Amanda was there, someone had picked her up. As Patty watched her daughter walk toward her, a local pastor who had joined the family whispered, "Your only priority is Amanda." And those words focused her. Today, Amanda is 24, working as a medical assistant and she's mother to Nick's grand daughter Lilly. Patty and Amanda and Lilly are living in Arizona. My investigation yielded no citations against Nick's company. There were no violations of any safety laws. I couldn't find anything. And Chris, the young lady helping run the family business, filed a worker's compensation claim for Jay, who was driving the bulldozer that day. Jay was suffering emotional distress, and Chris wanted to help him.

But this was long before there was wide discussion of emotional impairments like PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or related disorders. The claim was denied and found non compensable, citing a Supreme Court ruling at that time. In fact, it wasn't until 2013 when the state of Minnesota signed a new worker's compensation law allowing PTSD to be a compensable worker's compensation claim. Jay never returned to his job. In fact, Todd and Quinn found other work as well. All three of them still live near one another and occasionally talk with Chris and with Donnie, the coworker who called 9-1-1 that day. After the accident, employers in the area started calling Chris. They knew what had happened. And they also knew that Chris had been developing a safety training and safety program. And they asked if she would share what she had.

Meanwhile, Nick's death wore on me. It wore on me because his wasn't the only death of that sort I had investigated. I had coworkers investigating similar deaths where people were run over by earth moving equipment and were dying. And the people driving the equipment were suffering, or at least I figured they must be suffering. 'Cause that's the thing about being an OSHA inspector, you weren't allowed to talk to the families of the victims, in order to stay neutral. And after your inspection was done, and your case closed, there wasn't further contact because you simply moved on to another case. But it didn't stop me from wondering how everyone was doing. With Nick's death on my mind, I decided to call my coworker and former inspector, fellow inspector, Norm.

Before joining OSHA, Norm had spent the better part of his working life as a heavy equipment operator just like Jay. I told Norm I was growing weary of these cases and wanted to do something to prevent them. I asked Norm to partner with me, to use his knowledge of the trade and equipment, to try to come up with a prevention strategy. Over a series of meetings and discussions, Norm and I drafted a new safety law. It was adopted by the Minnesota legislature in 1999: two years, one month, and seven days after Nick's death. It's called The Operation of Mobile Earth Moving Equipment. There are several pieces to it. Primary intent, however, is building a relationship between the equipment operator and the people working on the ground, so everyone knows where everyone is at all times.

The part of the law that Norm and I get to see as we go on about living our lives, is a requirement for all people working on the ground around earth moving equipment to wear what is called a Class Two High Visibility garment. Class Two means that there's a lot of color and retro reflectivity all the way around the person wearing it, so they can be seen even if they're standing sideways. There were no requirements for this prior to 1999, unless you were working in actual traffic on a road. And in 2000, Tom, a fellow safety professional which you'll see here on the right, worked for an electrical contractor in Minneapolis. Tom amended the law, adding a provision for the high visibility garments to be fire rated when working under certain conditions.

Tom's motivation came from an employee who experienced an electrical arc flash and was burned when his non fire rated vest caught fire. Now, what happens next is sort of crazy. It was 2002, five and a half years since Nick had died. And I was still doing my OSHA gig back in that same prairie town again. This time, I was on a routine construction inspection. No one was dead. I was getting my gear out of my government issued car on the job site when this man, a dry wall contractor from the construction site, comes walking up to me. "Are you that OSHA lady?" He asked. And at this point, I'm checking my six, because being the OSHA lady does not mean that you're a celebrity and that this guy is looking for an autograph. "Um, yes I am." And he came closer to me.

"It was you, you who investigated my brother-in-law's death back at the bank. He was ran over. Do you remember?"

"Of course I remember it," I tell him. "I just thought of him when I pulled into town, like I always do." And he goes on saying his sister was married to Nick, and that she's a widow and a single mom, and that Nick is lying there in the cemetery. And then he gets closer to me. This is Bobby, Patty's brother, the one who drove Patty around town after they got the news of Nick's death. And Bobby pokes his finger at me and says, "What did you ever do to make sure that would never happen to anyone else?" Well, it just so happened that I carried copies of the law Norm and I wrote with me to share with the contractor, and whenever I did education about it around the state. So, I gave Bobby a copy. And I told him about the law. And I believe Bobby's response was, "Oh shit," which I think roughly translates, "Government did something?"

Now, in preparation for today, I reached out to Nick's former employer, Patty his wife, and others close to this story because I wanted to know more and I wanted to share more with you. Not long ago, I made my way back to that little prairie town, with a photographer to capture what you're seeing today. I started at Chris's office. She is now the CEO and CFO of the company where Nick worked. And Chris introduced me to Heather. Heather is the person now leading the safety charge for their company, a role Chris passed to her in 2006. I asked Heather if she could take us out to one of their job sites to take pictures of actual people working. And she agreed. In fact, she said she had a tiny crew working a very ... a project very similar to the work Nick, Jay, Todd and Quinn were doing 18 years ago.

We drove past the bank site, now a gas station, on our way. And when we got to the job site, my goal wasn't to break any of Heather's safety rules under the watchful eyes of her coworkers. Heather instructed Marty the photographer and I to stay in the grass around the perimeter of the site, far away from the activity. Then, I watched Heather do what I used to do as an inspector before I approached a job site. She took off her jewelry, put on her work boots, donned her hard had, put on her high visibility vest and safety glasses. It was surreal for me watching the next generation of woman in my role do what I had done hundreds of times. And Heather stepped on to the work site. It really did look a lot like the site that ... the day Nick died.

They were working to build a small driveway and parking lot. There wasn't a bulldozer this time. It was a road grader. And driving the road grader was Chris's son, David, the next heir to the company who was five or six years old back on that day in 1997. And it wasn't Nick standing with a grade rod, taking measurements, but another employee, Levi, this time. And I have to admit, I was a little nervous. I think I was part safety professional and part mom in those moments, wanting to lurch forward and say, "Be careful! Not so close. Watch where you are." And then something crazy happened. You see, earlier in the day, Chris was telling me about the progress they made in safety, and mentioned how they started using more personal protective equipment, like the high visibility vest, after that one law was written. "That one law?" I asked. "You mean this one?" And I took out a copy and I laid it in front of her.

Yeah. That one, she said. Chris and Heather never knew why the law had been written. They didn't know how it came to be until I showed up back in their offices 18 years later. I never knew that. But I guess, how would have they known? So, Chris and I went over the law, a law we both knew. I had been enforcing it. And Chris's company had been complying with it. But on that day, we looked at it together with fresh eyes. Now, safety laws nearly all start the same way, with what's called the scope. The scope explains what sort of work and what sort of workers the law applies to.

And with the law in hand, I read the scope with Chris. And it reads: This part identifies minimum safety requirements for the safe operation of mobile earth moving equipment used for earth moving, building, or road construction or demolition, including, but not limited to, bulldozers.

"Bulldozer is listed first. It was done on purpose. And it was done for Jay," I told Chris. And then we went on. I placed my finger over "loaders' and said, "This is for Quinn." I placed my finger over "skid-steer loaders" and said, "That is for Todd."

Then, we moved on to the part of the law listing the types of employees who had to be trained. And it reads: This part pertains to operators of the equipment and exposed employees, including, but not limited to, grade checkers, grade persons, rod persons.

I laid my finger on the words "grade checkers, grade persons and rod persons" and said, "That is for Nick. So, back to that work site. I watched as Heather got in David's sight line, as he was operating the road grader. They made eye contact. And the two of them confirmed sight of one another through hand signals, just like it's written in the law Norm and I wrote. And after signaling David to stop, I heard the road grader drop into neutral and the brakes set, just like it's written in the law. And then, Heather safely approached the road grader, just like it's written in the law.

And the work continued in perfect orchestration, safely, as they communicated without language. And I watched from my place in the grass like I was looking through a magic window. It worked. Wow. That law worked. In the 20 years I've been working in safety, I've been witness to a lot of tragedy, sometimes a death, sometimes a life changing injury.

And what I've observed is that the companies who employ the victims fall into one of two categories: those who blame the victim, humanity is non existent, concern is about liability and less about human beings; or those who rise to the occasion, engage in smart business practices, and do all they can to ensure the same never happens on their watch again. Nick's company, and Chris in particular, dared to rise to the occasion.

One of my favorite social scientists is Brene Brown. She calls herself a researcher storyteller. And in her latest book, titled Rising Strong, she writes, "The truth is that falling hurts - the dare is to be keep being brave and feel your way back up." Truth and dare. The truth is that falling hurts. The dare is to keep being brave and feel your way back up. Let's think about Chris, Nick's employer. The truth is, Chris could have chosen status quo safety. But she dared to be better. Under her leadership, Nick's company became the first in the state to enter into a partnership agreement to reduce the number of injuries and fatalities in the construction industry, with Minnesota OSHA and the Minnesota Associated Builders and Contractors.

And they're still active in it today. In fact, Heather has served as both their chair and co-chair. The truth is Chris's excavation company's injury rate is so low and their safety programs so goo, she dared to market it as a competitive advantage against their competition. The truth is the construction industry is hurting to attract qualified workers. So Chris dared to use her board seat with the Associated Building Contractors to apply for and win a grant to create a core construction online training program to attract people to the trades, and to teach them how to read blueprints, map for construction, communication skills, green building, and a whole lot of safety.

The truth is Chris's company could have forgotten about their employees, but they dared not to. They created a commemorative garden right in front of their building to thank Brad for his service to our country, to remember Doug, who lost his life to cancer, Bob who lost his to suicide, and Nick who lost his life at work. And Patty? Nick's widow? The truth is Patty said she could have chosen to hate. Rather, she dared to forgive, love and thrive. The truth is, as a 26 year old, I had no idea where this story would take me, nor how many people would dare to step up and step out, making changes across an entire state.

But we did it anyway. What is your truth? What have you dared to do? Maybe it was something with safety, maybe something else in your work life, community life, or personal life. And where have we fallen and haven't been brave enough to feel our way back up? Ask yourselves, what truth are you facing down today? Now is the time to dare yourself. Take that first step. You and others will be stronger for it. Promise.

Thank you for listening today. Nick's wife Patty is with us too. Patty, thank you for sharing your very personal story and for making your life with Nick real for us. Your grace amazes. Chris and Heather, with Nick's former company, are here too. Ladies, thank you for your work and advocacy for people. I know you've both said your work is far from done. Keep daring. And Norm, my friend and former OSHA colleague is here too. Norm, thank you for your partnership all those years ago.

Barrett:
Wow. Jill, fantastic story. And I'm left wondering if maybe there's a few folks out there who need to collect themselves or take a breath, huh? [inaudible 00:29:42]. And then, we'll get your questions. I'm going to push those questions on to the slide so you can see them. And Jill will answer them one by one. Jill, are you ready?

Jill James:
Yes, I am.

Barrett:
Okay. Your first question is, "What was it like reconnecting with people involved with this story?"

Jill James:
Oh. Well, it was loaded. I mean, it was ... When you do the job that I did, you never got to hear the rest of the story. And the ability to close the circle, I guess, was really powerful. Because it's not like I didn't stop thinking about the people and the victims, and I don't. And so, it was really something to be able to hear the other side of the story and what happened afterward, and in this case, to hear some really great things that came out of terrible tragedy.

Barrett:
Thank you Jill. Next question. What's the one piece of advice you'd give to anyone struggling with the aftermath of a recent occupational fatality? And I'm guessing this is coming from a safety pro, but it could be coming from anyone of our audience members today, regardless of their role.

Jill James:
Yeah. Keep talking about it. Don't blame victims. Look for solutions. I don't really believe in accidents. I do believe in solutions, and I do believe in prevention strategies. And in this case, we didn't have anything at that time. But we made something happen. And so, I guess my suggestion would be to do all that you can to ensure it wouldn't happen to anyone else again. There only needs to be one lesson learned, not multiple.

Barrett:
Thanks Jill. Another question coming up. How did you leverage your contacts as an OSHA inspector to actually get your good idea buy in and push it through to law?

Jill James:
That's a really good question. And it's one that Norm and I have spoken about, and spoken about recently when we reconnected. And neither one of us remember it being hard. We remember writing. And I remember contacting an editor to help with some of the verbiage. And then, we passed it off to our bosses at OSHA. And the next thing we knew, it had been approved.

Jill James:
We didn't have to go and testify or anything like that. There was a public comment period, like there always is for new proposed laws. And there wasn't any arguments that were pushed. And it simply got passed. And we both look back and go, "How did we do that?" I mean, it was really just that easy.

Barrett:
Thank you. Got another question here for you. That question is, "How can families of workplace fatalities be included in the aftermath, or the process host event?

Jill James:
Yeah. I think that's really difficult to answer. And in this particular case, there was a ... It was a family owned business, and a familiar relationship between all of the parties. And I know that they had talked with one another and kept in contact, and still do, to some extent, all of these years later. But I guess, lead with grace on both sides. Lead with grace on behalf of the employer. And lead with grace as best you can with families. And maybe there are ways they can work together for lasting change. But honesty and grace, the best advice I can give.

Barrett:
That's always good advice. Thanks. Next question here. Has OSHA changed the policy about not contacting the victim's family? Maybe you can, if you don't know the answer, explain what the rules were for you back at that time.

Jill James
Sue. Sure.

Barrett:
Yeah.

Jill James:
yeah. And so, like I had said, my job was to collect the name and address of the next of kin, so a condolence letter could be sent out. And then, to say neutral myself as the investigator, we couldn't contact the family members. But of course, like every business. There was a person within a specific department who was the spokes-person for answering questions, whether it would be from the family or from media, or from other concerned parties in a community.

And so, often times ... your question is, have they changed the policy? Not to my knowledge. No. And I think it's more of controlling what information is being shared and with whom, and verifying whose asking the questions. But I do know that the person with the government who answered all questions on behalf of things that happen in Minnesota, would call me before he'd call someone back, and ask me to fill in the blanks, and ask me if I had specific things that I wanted shared. And then, he would relay that information, so an intermediary if you would, but also being very honest to ask me for my input too.

Barrett:
Excellent. Okay. Got another question here. Jill, do you find, over the years, that you have had more profound results sharing the sad part of this story back at the beginning when it was still fresh, or the brave happy parts as they have come to pass?

Jill James:
Well, in all honesty. I didn't know about the brave happy parts until a couple of months ago. I knew about the law, of course, because Norm and I had worked on that. But all the other pieces, I didn't know about. And as far as sharing the results ... After that law was written, I was contacted by numbers of employers, particularly in the construction industry while they were trying to figure out how to comply with the law. And people would ask me to do presentations with their crews.

And I always told Nick's story, always, during all of them. And the power of sharing that always got their attention as operators and as people who are doing the work. And there was never a time I did training where I didn't talk about him.

Barrett:
Thank you. I have another one here. How did you drive down to the true root causes of this incident, when at the time, none of the communication best practices or PPE requirements had been identified?

Jill James:
Yeah. That's the piece that Norm and I did. And it was really through the genius of Norm having been a former equipment operator, and having actually done the job, where we could really sit together and talk about kind of step-by-step what happens on a job site. Who's doing what? What's typical? What are the job titles of people? What are different work activities that happen? What happens on a weird day no a job site?

And we really kind of step-by-step tore apart a job site, thinking about all the different activities that could go on, and then started coming up with ideas. And we came up with a lot of ideas that were crazy. And we just threw them at the wall to see would that stick, you know? Like at one time early on, and Norm will probably laugh remembering this, that we talked about, "Well, maybe the people that are working on the ground should carry around a little flag and stick it n the ground wherever they're working so they can be seen."

And then, we're all like, "Yeah, like that's gonna happen." I mean, just another thing for somebody to carry around with their tools. You know? And we kind of laughed at ourselves for even coming up with the idea. But we just really sat with the actual work, and relied on Norm's many years as an operator, to come up with different strategies and ideas.

Barrett:
Awesome. Have another question here. That question is, "Great job getting this law passed, and being someone who cared enough to do this, Jill. Are you working on similar laws that have not been passed?" Or maybe, did you attempt to change other laws during your time as a Minnesota safety investigator, or in the private sector?

Jill James:
Not right now. No. I'm not. I can tell you that I'm not the only OSHA person that's ever done this. When I was talking with one of my former coworkers a couple of months ago, she was telling me that she had written a law as well. And I said, "Really Nancy, I didn't know that." And I said, "What's it called?"

And she goes, "Well, it's go a technical name. But I call it Brian and Ryan's law, out of memory for two people who lost their life on the job as well." So, the answer to the question is no, I don't have anything right now going on. But know that there are others who do t his same kind of thing.

Barrett:
Great. I have another question here for you. That question is ... oh, comments first. "Moving and thought provoking. Thanks. What might your approach be in preparing companies that Don't think this could happen to them?"

Jill James:
Well, that's a loaded question. We could apply that to so many pieces of our lives. Right? It's like we all know what causes diabetes, we all know what causes certain kinds of cancer. But yet, we don't work on the prevention strategies, right? 'Cause we think that it's not going to happen to us.

And probably the biggest cliché in safety is, "Well, nothing's happened and we've been doing this job the same way for 30 years. So why should we change now?" That's something safety professionals run up against all the time. I don't have a silver bullet answer to that question, other than continue your work, to work on prevention strategies, to be less reactive and more proactive in your work. If I knew that threats worked about monetary penalties or time lost from work, or the risk of death, and I thought that it would work every time, I would say that's the way to go. But, it really isn't.

I mean, I don't know that there's a silver bullet. It's a mixed bag. But continue plugging away at whatever prevention strategy you can work with, and really talk about sound business practices and what the benefits to the company are, whether it's to their bottom line or to the health and welfare of their people.

Barrett:
Thanks Jill. Got another question here for you. That question is, "The number one resource you recommend to teach on how to drive institutional change?" Big question.

Jill James:
Yeah. That's a hard one. Wow, you know, I guess, as someone who's been doing this for 20 years with a number of different employers in the private sector after I left government service, is to really understand the business that you're working in, and really understand what the motivations are for business decisions that are made within the company that you work for. And speak to the decision makers at the top of your management structure the same way that the CFO would talk to them, or the way that ...

If they go through a specific decision matrix to make a business decision, whether it's introducing a new product line or changing out equipment or doing a capital improvement plan, present your safety ideas in the same manner. It is the same thing. It's a business decision that needs to be made as well. But speak to them, speak to your decision makers, with a business model. And of course, you can use emotion and heart strings as well. But business practices and best business decisions is what I've found to be the most useful.

Barrett:
Excellent. Have one last question here for you. That question is, "From the surviving family's perspective, what would they like to see the employer do after the accident?"

Well, I think in the ... Just after listening to the story today, in this case, the employer performed absolutely idea, showed a tremendous amount of caring, took steps, took action. This is one of those rare instances of people just behaving phenomenally in doing the right and responsible thing, in my eyes. Jill?

Jill James:
Yeah. I wouldn't even hazard to try to answer that question. I think that's definitely an answer for Patty and her family to answer. And I'm sure she's thought about that many times.

Barrett:
All right. That's our final question. That ends our Q and A. Jill, thanks again. And thanks for the amazing people who made this story possible and are in attendance today.

A quick note here on post-event follow up. After the event, you'll be receiving: our Written Safety Program Template, which is great for getting that new safety policy taken care of, if you've got one on the burner now; Jill's 4 Guiding Principles for Daily Safety Management, which is a really useful tool for just getting stuff done on a day to day basis.

For those of you who need some help identifying required safety training for your workforce, we'll set you up with a free training and compliance consultation with one of our experts. And of course, you'll also receive an on demand recording of this webcast to share with your organization. All of that information will be sent to you this afternoon. So, watch your inboxes.

Finally, Jill left us with a challenge. So, I want to encourage you to share your safety truth, dare, or story, by visiting our LinkedIn group, Ripple Effect. We created a group this week to give you a community where you can exchange ideas around your safety challenges and aspirations, and continue this conversation with colleagues. So, if you have a LinkedIn account, you can search for The Ripple Effect Group now, by that title. We will also be sending you the link, along with your post-event resources. And that's it folks. Stay safe out there. Thanks for being here.

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