Safety protocol recognition is an important topic when it comes to workplace safety and organizational emergency management and continuity. Many corporations, companies and organizations have some sort of safety program. A safety program is often a requirement in most countries and can improve the awareness of hazards for an individual worker while also allowing them to improve their performance in the safest manner possible. Workplace safety programs are often efficient and proactive but many of them can fail due to one specific and major element. The major element is YOU! The real safety program for any sort of workplace or organization is YOU and YOU alone. If you don’t conduct your own safety protocol recognition at your workplace, then you are not playing it safe at work thus putting yourself and others in the line of fire when it comes to hazards and threats that many workplaces are commonly faced with. In this article, I will be describing my own personal experience with safety protocol recognition and how I used it to essentially save the life of a fellow co-worker.

Safety Protocol Recognition

Safety Protocol Recognition Requires and Interest in Safety

In order to really be successful at safety protocol recognition in your specific workplace, you need to have developed some kind of interest towards safety. We all have an interest in safety if you really think about it. What do you want to do each day after you get off work? Do you want to go visit your girlfriend or see your husband? Do you want to hang out with your children and visit with your parents? Do you want to go buy something nice that you have been saving up for? All of these questions can easily pertain to an interest concerning safety protocol recognition at work because they simply express the fact that you have hopes to leave work in the same condition that you started and continue living the life you want to live. So in a way, most of us are all geared towards safety protocol recognition at our workplaces but we need to dig even deeper than that to really express our interests and concerns relating to workplace safety.

I want to be blunt about this issue – you need to be interested in workplace safety in order to be a safe worker. You need to force yourself to gain an interest in it whether it is for professional reasons or personal reasons. For me, I am developing myself into an expert for the subjects of emergency management, public health and organizational continuity and workplace safety is a topic that commonly plays in all of those fields of discipline. For you, it might be something a bit more personal such as simply wanting to go home every day to your family and continuing to live your life without major injury occurring to you. I think that option applies to us all, really. Unless you are a suicidal person, you likely want to live a healthy and pain-free lifestyle for as long as you can.

So the best way to become personally interested in safety protocol recognition at work is to explore it and understand what it means to the workplace and especially to you. If you have a safety manager, ask them questions and seek further information about the safety program at your workplace. They are not going to be bothered by your questions because safety is their job and that is what they are there for. Most safety managers would be thrilled to answer your questions and give you more information. You should also pay attention to the safety training meetings, often a required meeting at your workplace. If there are any optional safety meetings or even a safety project group that you can join, I suggest getting involved in those outlets as well. Workplace safety is very important, even more so than the company earning a profit because safety ensures that the company has employees that are safe enough to perform beyond what is expected of them in order to help the company gain a profit.


Safety Protocol Recognition should become a Habit

Safety protocol recognition is something that you should turn into a habit, like brushing your teeth every morning or feeding your cat. This protocol is very easy to overlook at times and you might find yourself getting away from it from time to time if you are not too careful. Now many of you might think that skipping safety every now and then is fine as long as it isn’t common but I am sure that is what people thought before losing their fingers, limbs and even their lives. Ignoring safety is not only irresponsible, it is ignorant and quite primitive. If you even ignore it for a second, that second can be the moment that changes your life or the life of another person in the end. You could die. You could cause another person to die. Lives can be ruined. Families can be broken and the workplace can even take such a major hit that they are forced to close and lay workers off. Safety is not a joke and should always be taken serious, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year, no matter what.

Focus on turning safety protocol recognition into a habit. That is going to be the best thing you can do for not only yourself but the other people who work around you. I try to use a three part system each and every day concerning safety protocol recognition. The three parts include Waking up Safely, Working Safely and Going Home Safely. When I awake each day before I go to work, I think about the safety requirements that will be needed at work. What do I need to do first in order to be safe at work? I imagine that I will need to check my PPE (personal protective equipment) and also inspect my work area for potential hazards. I have created my own unique hazard and threat assessment where I inspect each area of my workplace trying to determine new potential threats as well as threats that might exist already. I report anything out of the ordinary. Once I am at work, I maintain safety protocol recognition. Any new activities that occur, I question the safety aspects of them and what additional instructions concerning safety may be required. Before I drive home from work, I consider all the needed safety information and what steps I should take to safely make it home as is. I do this every day, no matter if I work or not, because it is a habit. Safety should be a habit but it is a habit that you will need to start for yourself and get addicted to.


My Personal Experience in Safety Protocol Recognition

I want to start out this story by saying that I will not name individuals or the workplace where this incident took place, in order to protect privacy and confidentiality of the incident. What I am saying is on my own account, based on my own experience and does not reflect the words or official statement of another individual, group or entity. Please do not request further information that would name person(s) in this story or entities as I will not divulge such information. Let me start by saying that I am into safety protocol recognition for many reason but one of them being to further my education, experience and expertise in workplace safety for the fundamental reasons of it being related to organizational continuity and emergency management subjects. I research beyond what is expected of me as far as safety is concerned and I recommend others do it as well.

It was a normal workday on second shift when this incident took place. I was in my work area performing my normal work activities. I was very familiar with the normal sounds of the workplace from the machines running to the normal chatter between employees. I didn’t really eavesdrop if you will but I tried to recognize the normal patterns in sounds throughout the area I worked in mainly to know when something was wrong with my machine if a new sound ever occurred. In the aisles around me, different machines are spread around, each doing something different in terms of manufacturing the product that our plant makes. I was currently at the end area on my machine working on a semi-finished product that I would soon add to. I was alert of my surroundings as the product was heavy and could harm me under hazardous circumstances.

While working on my product, I heard a cry for help. It was several cries of someone screaming out “Help me! Please somebody help me!” I looked around and continued to listen in an attempt to focus on where the location was of the screams. I discovered that the location was near a machine behind where I was currently working at the time. I quickly assessed my current location to ensure that I could leave it without creating another hazard and confirmed that I could do just that. I then quickly but safely made my way to the machine where I thought I heard the screams.

Upon arrival to the machine, I observed a fellow co-worker “wrapped up” in the product that was currently on his machine. The machine was moving and therefore the individual was also moving with the machine. His attempts to fight the entanglement did however slow down the movement to a much slower pace but he was still being dragged towards a dangerous section of the machine. The section had a very small port that would had forced him through. If he had been forced through, he would had likely lost limbs and most likely been killed by the impact but I cannot confirm that with 100% accuracy.

Upon seeing this employee in his dire situation, I ran to the control panel of the machine and hit the emergency stop function for both portions of the machine. I then took a cutting tool and cut through the product away from the employee’s limbs and fingers. He was completely wrapped up in the product starting from his finger to his elbows. When I stopped the machine, he was about 3 to 5 inches from being forced into the small port that would had likely serious injured him or worse.

After stopping the machine and releasing the tension by cutting the product, I assessed the situation further. He started taking off his gloves, I told him to do so slowly and readied myself to start a tourniquet if needed. I am a certified Emergency Medical Responder, I have some knowledge and training concerning basic life support and emergency medical needs which I recommend others seek further information about. When the gloves were removed, I could see that no skin had major cuts but pinching and twisting had occurred. I instructed the victim to have a seat and try to remain calm which is did. I then ran to the closest phone and dialed the number to activate the pager system. I paged for a supervisor and a member of the Emergency Response Team of the facility to quickly converge the area. I then quickly made my way back to the injured employee to ensure that he remain conscious and alert. The supervisor and emergency personnel as well as plant security arrived shortly after and took over the incident. I was then told that I could return to my machine and continue my work.

For the rest of my shift, I was still alert of my own safety and the safety of others around me but I was in shock. I’ve never directly and formally rescued someone before. I’ve been involved in volunteer emergency management and firefighting services for a while but each and every incident that I witnessed with that was indirect meaning I didn’t specifically save a life myself. I dislike giving myself credit where credit is due but I must take some sort of pride in myself and recognize the fact that I did actually save someone’s life. Whether or not I am a hero or not, the main thing to learn from this is the major need for safety protocol recognition and how such actions can be used to save a live in a hazardous situation.

The man I assisted that day is doing well. He gets to go home to his family each day and he is alive and that is all that matters to me. I just hope we recognizes safety protocols more often than he did before.

I hope you all have enjoyed my article as well as my story. Please share this article with others to help show me support for creating it. This article was written by Shawn J. Gossman, a professional in the emergency management and organizational continuity fields.

About the Author

Shawn J. Gossman
Shawn J. GossmanB.S., M.S., M.B.A., SEM, PDS
Shawn J. Gossman is an article and publication contributor of rural and remote-based emergency management, continuity and public health topics. Shawn holds a Master of Science concentrating in Emergency Management and a MBA in Hazardous Environment Logistics and Supply Chain Management. Shawn is dedicated to helping rural communities and organizations be a part of the Whole Community approach of National Preparedness.