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♦♦♦     IT’S MY MISTAKE     ♦♦♦

This is a sequel to my blog entitled: “Safety Misconceptions: What can we learn from them” (pub 19 Oct 2011), wherein I mentioned that I had recently been involved in a bike accident and promised to tell readers about it – what happened and why, what I learnt from my root cause analysis, and the concept of ‘being lucky’.

It's My Mistake by Jurgen Tietz Safety Speaker I have been riding motor bikes for over 40 years and recently bought a new bike. I was still getting used to the different feel and handling of this bike the night I had … NOcaused … the accident! I didn’t see the poorly marked kerb in the middle of the road and hit it straight on.
I am sharing this with you, because there are so many lessons for me, which you will find useful as well.
  • It is tough to practise what you preach. I talk about safety to thousands of people, but when I do something that causes an incident at home or to me personally, things look different.
    Then the phrase “kungumsebenzi wami” = “it’s my responsibility” suddenly takes on a different meaning. It is no longer merely words.
  • I talk about “accidents don’t just happen, they are caused“, but when something ‘happens’ to me, I tend to look at who or what can I blame.
  • I make a point of telling my audiences that “Luck and Safety do not go together“. After this incident I have to change my tune, because I was fortunate. I could still be lying in hospital in the ICU unit.
    (That actually happened to a safety professional and fellow biker in Australia, who spent over six months in hospital.)
  • By causing an accident, I inflicted pain, worry and trouble on others. Being sorry does not make up for that. When something ‘happens’ to me, I tend to think about myself first and foremost. Imagine the worry and concern of my wife, Heidi, after I called her!
  • Don’t underestimate the importance of safety measures to prevent accidents being caused in the first place. In this case, the road markings, lanes, as well as stripes on the kerb and reflective chevron signage indicating the kerb.
  • Wearing the right PPE (full leathers) saved my life. The jacket’s arms were torn to shreds, the gloves badly scraped and full of holes. The crash helmet, new and perfectly fitted, was damaged beyond repair but prevented a concussion.
  • Driving a new bike or car, or operating a new machine, brings with it a risk. When using new equipment, we are not yet doing things “automatically” and have to “take our eyes off the road”. This makes doing the 204 Risk Assessment, before you do a job, even more critical. (I didn’t – only briefly thought about which route I was going to take.)
  • When I do have an incident, I do think about what happened and why. Like many, however, outside the factory / mine gate / workplace, I do not spend near enough time doing a Root Cause Analysis, i.e. asking What, When, Where, Who, How, Why (5 X) and what am I going to do to prevent it from happening again.

Take ACTION and remind all your employees that a SAFETY CULTURE includes investigating incidents which happen outside the workplace.

Encourage all to SHARE SAFETY INCIDENTS and especially to GIVE FEEDBACK about the LESSONS LEARNT and steps taken to ENSURE THEY DON’T HAPPEN AGAIN!.

This is a good SAFETY AWARENESS exercise to do with your teams.

You can read what action I am taking to prevent having another bike accident like this one on my BLOG.


Take “2” minutes to think about what you are going to do and that it will be “0harm and that you are following the “4steps to safety:

  • Is this a dangerous situation?
  • Do I have the right tools & equipment for the job?
  • Am I doing something which is risky, or taking a short cut?
  • What am I going to do about it?
If you’d like to know more about how to deal with mistakes and failure, ask me to send you a story out of my book entitled “Lotte’s Office, the Pipe & Press” (which deals with innovation and failure).
Want to comment on this SIMPLY SMART SAFETY™ Tip or share your insights with me?
You are more than welcome to do so here.
© Copyright:Jürgen Tietz

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