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Safety Third


   Are you safety types cringing yet? I did at first. The safety first and zero accidents mantra has been at all the nuclear power plants, Army Corp of Engineers remediation sites and especially at DOE/NNSA sites I have worked. Mike Rowe has a much more blue collar approach to safety. He also makes some very good comments on the pandemic related to relative risk. The only place that safety first was not true for me was when I worked as an SME for hazardous material retrieval after Katrina with the EPA. Hazards were too broad to be simplified to a digestible list. Other than basic industrial PPE it was mainly for god's sake be careful. There was a lot to be done to get people back to their normal life and we used Mike's safety third with no injuries to our crew without knowing we were doing it.

Walk me through this “Safety Third” thing

   What I suggested in my post last week, was that Safety is not a thing to be “ranked,” but rather, a state of mind, to be applied as needed to a myriad of situations in varying amounts. But if we were to rank it, it would rarely be “first.” Were safety truly “first,” no level of risk would ever be encouraged or permitted, and no work would ever get done. Or play, for that matter.

Al Eidson:
I thought that was excellent. It's been 3 years since I worked, but it was getting to where we just went through the appearance of good safety practices rather than a true focus on safety. After hearing the same lines over and over it was how well you could recite them rather than practice them. It's good to get an objective view from outside our nuclear culture, even though I think safety is a true priority.


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