Become a Safety Mentor Today

Do you remember learning to ride your first bike? Some notable moments probably included: getting a little lucky in the balance-category, peddling and braking for the first time, and then figuring out how to coast downhill. Other not-so-fun notable moments might include the time you experienced a horrendous crash that resulted in a first visit to the hospital for stitches.

But did we ever quit our quest to figure out how to ride a bike? Take it one step farther — Did we every stop trying to accomplishing that skill or task we originally set out to do? Usually not!

Why didn't we quit? Was it because our parents, coaches or bosses (the mentors in our lives) wouldn't let us? Or was it that little voice inside of us? We wouldn't allow ourselves to quit because we were stubborn and determined not to fail. We were gonna stick to it until we finally figured it out. We asked lots of questions, and had others (our peers) show us a trick or two along the way.

So how did we learn all those skillsets that we know and use today?

My best guess is that it was probably a combination of many influences. In fact, most of our success is directly due to the support that others offered while we were trying to learn. We had "teachers" all around us. Some may not have been college trained, but they cared enough to support us. They were our parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, neighbors, family friends, and they all had a common goal to share their wisdom to help us succeed.

Our workplace can be that same caring environment that promotes healthy learning. We, too, want others to learn and succeed. We don't want to see people get hurt, fail, or damage equipment or materials. We want others to learn the right way, the first time, so we do not have to re-teach them and so that no one gets hurt.

Folks, this is called mentoring! A "mentor" is defined by Webster's as: "a trusted counselor or guide; a Tutor; a Coach." And this is exactly what we all need to do when a new employee tries a new task or operates a piece of equipment for the first time. This is your golden opportunity — a teaching opportunity — that allows you, as a mentor, to shine! We all can influence how an employee safely works. We all need to clean our glasses and focus on who we can help (i.e., coach or teach). And we need to start today!

My Challenge: During the next month, look for a daily opportunity to be a Safety Mentor — to help someone learn how to do a task safely. Pick someone each day to share your knowledge with. Demonstrate your skills in various areas of work. Better yet, take a new employee to your department and make a 30-day commitment to take them under your wing and help them become the safe worker of tomorrow. It is the right thing to do, for their family and for your work-environment, and it may even be the overriding difference in you getting home to your family safely, too. Safety Mentor someone today!