September 2, 2020
Terry MurphyThe total value and importance of safety has increased over the last six months. On any given year, entire communities are faced with the challenge of personal safety when threatened by a natural disaster, such as a forest fire, flood, hurricane or tornado. But in 2020, the coronavirus pandemic made personal safety a priority to everyone on the planet, in every corner of the globe. Never before have so many people and countries been focused on creating and maintaining a culture of safety.

For years, Landscape Ontario and the Ontario Regional Common Ground Alliance (ORCGA) have tirelessly preached the safety message. When teaching apprenticeship students in the landscape program at Mohawk College, I always include a lesson about the four distinct cultures that exist in business. They are Profit (all decisions consider this), People (they need development and training), Production (products and services are superior) and Safety (every decision needs to consider this). Each culture is important and must blend together for a stable, successful and profitable company.

The Covid-19 crisis has taught governments and societies that our personal safety is paramount. To date, the virus has infected over 21 million people world-wide and been responsible for the deaths of just over 750,000. The safety of society has been top of mind for governments for most of 2020. The cost to society has been astronomical, the worry for families has been dreadful, the enormous effect on our seniors has been devastating. Schools, churches, restaurants, and other gathering places have been closed, so have office buildings. People are working from home, wearing masks in public and unemployment has gone through the roof. Safety and protocols are in the spotlight.

We now are very conscious of our individual and personal safety. Society has new rules. Our daily routines have new procedures. Public health officials and government stress special safety precautions, including social distancing, avoiding large groups, constant and proper hand washing, wearing masks inside public spaces, and more. Currently, officials are telling people these safety practices will probably be with us into 2022, maybe longer. Not following these safety guidelines could have life and death implications. It puts safety on a whole new level of importance in our daily lives.

This new culture of safety should dramatically change both our personal and business lives. It extends to all of our activities and requires a new level of importance in the safety culture for each of us. Hopefully, this new reality will also give rise to the importance and value of safety in everything we do, resulting in fewer on the job accidents and deaths. Has safety in your personal life taken on an increased level of importance and value? Will safety now become one of the most important elements in protecting employees and reducing the cost of accidents? This new safety culture will be better for everyone. Safety is of paramount importance in our lives. Let’s all stay safe!
Terry Murphy CLM