Adapt and Overcome

As we all have had to deal with COVID-19 in the workplace, home, and public and the concerns we have with caring for the health of our families, friends, and fellow workers, we become more hypervigilant in our safety insights, breakthroughs and protocol than ever before.

Successes of all kinds need to be shared with groups daily.

In my many years within the Safety space, it has always amazed me that an incident needs to occur before people really see the value in the proper safety training, equipment, and tools. With most incidents, there is a struggle to develop an understanding of need by the organization at all levels, to “buy-in” so to speak.

Previously some of the immediate questions had been how to deal with:

  • proper use of the required PPE

  • proper following of JHA

  • worker fatigue

  • lack of training

  • bad safety culture

With the intent to mitigate and remove future occurrences, we would typically embark on an incident investigation report, searching every aspect of the event for clues.

These are the tools through which sharing helps to understand and educate us to provide a better workspace.

The interesting thing is that most incidents are tangible, we can see or feel it, thus allowing us to develop opportunities to establish steps to mitigate and remove future occurrences.

Make no mistake, COVID -19 is an incident, we must address the proper way to handle it today and moving forward. It has affected the workers at ALL levels of every organization, “the buy-in” should not even be a concern. Taking steps to protect your workforce should be a matter of course.

And brings us to the current environment; we have an incident that we cannot see, we can carry it and not feel sick, and because of the evolving research and as we educate ourselves, we continue to see requirements change rapidly.

I can say with the greatest confidence that the working environment that will be in place moving forward is going to be vastly different than the one we were used to in the past.

Basic concepts like the correct way to wash our hands, what we can and cannot touch, and how to handle specific operations must be reviewed and passed to all workers. With an increase in the effectiveness of proper PPE, the correct ways to use it are more important than ever.

Assuming someone already knows information is a deadly mistake that can cost lives.

The harsh reality is that we need and requirement in an effective attack on COVID-19 is all of us working together to eradicate it.

It will attack us not only at work, but it can also follow you home, causing a life-changing effect on your family.

We must share, discuss, and dissect the success we have in fighting it because I want you all to be able to pass the skills and talents on to your children and watch them grow.

One of the greatest skills I learned from my military experience was that we have the ability as humans to adapt and overcome in ANY situation.

Americans have the capability of holding differing beliefs in all sorts of areas, but when it comes to an attack on Americans, they have one belief, it’s unacceptable.

Our goal in the attack on COVID19 is a successful eradication and we all stand a better chance through better education and development through the spread of proper information.

As we focus to establish plans to put America back to work, we must keep in mind that it must be done in a safe and methodical manner. We need to share and help one another to get things moving forward.

I am so lucky to live in the greatest country in the world and I look forward to seeing all of you back at work showing your great talents and skills safely.

Kerry Schimelfenig

CMC Governance Board Member

Authorized OSHA Outreach Trainer, PES


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