Estimated reading time: 4 minutes, 5 seconds
We have recently had several unfortunate incidents where things went wrong. We have also had a few near misses along the way, despite the fact that one of Levco builders mottoes is “we always win”. So many problems are avoided with an ounce of prevention.
No one wants to be responsible for making anything worse or messing up. No matter how careful we are, things happen that are less than optimal. Our good intentions are no match for a catastrophe in someone’s home. Winning means being responsible for our actions and making it right. Sadly, there is no way to make it right in some cases.
There are usually warning signs of problems. Unfortunately, they are easily overlooked. As an owner, It is easy to point fingers and yell. It takes a leader to infuse a safety culture by teaching and sharing the wisdom of what to look for and why.
- A sloppy job site
- Nails left sticking up
- Holes in floors
- Cutting, sawing, or nailing without the necessary protections
- Exposing yourself or others to loud noises for prolonged periods of time
- Ladder placement
- Failing to protect personal property
- Ignoring fall protections
- Improperly secured loads
- Operating damaged tools or cords
- Being careless, working too fast.
- Not verifying that doors and gates are closed and locked
If only we could identify the weak link before it fails. If I could just teach people to catch the warning signs then we would build a better company that wins based upon being smarter and cautious instead of lucky and careless.
Here is what I know: a catastrophe usually has several, let’s say 3, warning signs. What you do with them is how I want my company to run.
A story to illustrate:
A gentleman living in a flood zone became aware that severe weather was coming while watching the news, but he didn’t give it a second thought because he had faith in the Lord. Shortly after the breaking news alert, the police came through the neighborhood announcing an evacuation order over a loud speaker. Confident in his faith, he refused to leave.
Sure enough, the rains came, and soon the water was lapping at his feet on his front porch. A rescue boat came by and pleaded to him to abandon his home and accept a lift to dry land, but again he refused. Citing his faith and devotion, angered by the distraction, he continued to go about his business and prayed.
That afternoon the waters were really rising and although very concerned, he still had faith, “Was this some sort of test?” he thought. He was all the way up on his roof when a national guard helicopter hovered over him ordering him to accept a lift to dry land, and again he refused, sending them away to help others. He was confident he would to be fine right up until his house was swept away and he drowned.
At the pearly gates, as the story goes, he finally got to meet his maker, . Flabbergasted, he asked why he had perished in the flood. “Haven’t I been devoted enough?” he said, ” I thought you would protect and look over me.” The Lord replied solemnly, “I sent you several warnings, a boat, and a helicopter, but you refused them all.”
Are we missing the signs? I suppose it is easy, if you are not looking for them. Are you being asked to do something that you have no experience with? Are you needing an extra hand? What if things go wrong? Will there be serious consequences?.
Before something goes wrong, or just after something doesn’t make sense, or go right, take a pause, or a “mental drink of water” (as I like to say). Ask yourself a few questions, Should you get a second opinion? Is the risk more than you can stand? Are your assumptions too shaky? What if it doesn’t work, will others be harmed?
The truth is that I would rather be involved in getting a second opinion than dealing with a catastrophe. Hurting someone is a real risk in many lines of work, and remodeling is no exception. It is scary to think that an act of omission or a moment of carelessness could produce irreparable consequences.
In the words of an old favorite TV show, “Let’s be careful out there.”