Safety and Saxophones

Upon finishing his saxophone performance, Jeremy Fish, managing director of Nationwide Platforms, went on to illustrate how discipline, commitment and passion – principles that apply to music – should be applied to safety.

What does a saxophone have to do with safety? Quite a lot, it turns out, if you look at it the right way.

That was the message put forth by Jeremy Fish, managing director of Nationwide Platforms, a division of UK-based rental firm Lavendon, to an audience of about 300 at the IPAF Summit on March 17 in Madrid, Spain. Fish mystified and charmed his audience when he began his "talk" by playing a professional jazz interlude on his saxophone. Upon finishing his performance, he went on to illustrate how discipline, commitment and passion – principles that apply to music – should be applied to safety.

But are discipline, commitment and passion enough to get construction and rental professionals to make safety the number one priority? It might be, if they consider what's at stake.

Safety protects revenues, Fish explained, citing cases of how UK companies have coughed up a total of £82 million in fines for safety breaches over the last five years, with several companies eventually ceasing to trade. “What do you do to avoid compromising safety if you have to economize? Whatever it takes,” was his advice. “You don’t have to focus on equipment to be safe; you can focus on behavior. Safe behavior doesn’t involve cost. Speak up when you witness something dangerous. Question, take ownership, share incidents and near-misses.”

The bottom line is safe companies are successful and profitable companies with happy and healthy employees, but for that to become a reality, it requires more than just talk.

Fish noted that more member companies should be reporting accidents involving aerial work platforms at IPAF’s incident database (www.ipaf.org/incident).

“If you are really serious about safety, then why is it that so few of you have submitted near-miss reports to the IPAF accident reporting database since its inception four years ago? This isn’t information sharing. This isn’t learning. This isn’t being serious about safety," he says.

According to Fish, learning to make safety the priority is just like practicing the saxophone. With enough discipline, commitment and passion, anything is possible (although I would argue that in the case of saxophones, some innate talent helps a lot). 

 

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