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Assumed Safety

Posted by Chris Maka, Fleet Director on Feb 15, 2019 9:14:19 AM

Safety for Utility Arborists

As utility arborists, how many times a day do we observe, or are part of, actions that we ASSUME are being performed safely or with safety top of mind?

To put it another way - How many actions or activities do we participate in where we don’t have proof that we are safe?

The term "assume” is defined as "supposed to be the case, without proof."  Additionally, the word assume is a verb, and in this case would describe an INACTION on our behalf.

So this leads me to a follow-up question: As leaders, how many times a day do we take action to prove we are proceeding in the safest manner?

I will share a few fleet example where leadership can easily assume (by not taking action to prove) our fleet assets are being operated safely.

Assume Prove
  • The driver has started the asset and we see all the lights working, we assume the truck is safe
  • Follow up with the driver and ask how or what they have inspected
  • The driver has not documented anything on the pre/post trip report, we assume there is nothing wrong with the asset
  • Make sure the driver has been trained by another experienced driver on the proper inspection process
  • A repair was completed by a vendor and nothing else was said, we assume the asset is now safe to operate
  • Ensure the repairs are completed properly before placing the asset back into service


Inaction of leadership to address items identified by a driver or our team sends what message to our team in regards to safety?  If leadership does not care about how safe my truck or asset is, why should they care if I one-hand my chainsaw, don't wear my chaps, walk in a drop zone, etc.?

Leadership and safety go hand-in-hand in every part of our business and we must not assume we are safe, but rather prove we are acting safe in ALL THINGS we do.

Today carry and share this message: As a leader, I will not assume my team is safe;  rather, I will take the steps and actions required to prove that my team and I are acting in a safe manner.

Topics: total safety culture, creating safety

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