After The Fall
She was a gangly, pig-tailed, 89-pound, 14-year-old when she began her international athletic career. But could she ever run. She would go on to set six world records in track events ranging from the mile to the 10,000 meters. She was named the top amateur athlete in the U.S. and Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of the Year, among many other honors. But for Mary Decker, it all came crashing down.
It was the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles and Decker was heavily favored to gold medal in her signature event, the 3,000 meters. On the starting line with her was her nemesis, South African Zola Budd, running barefoot.
As the race began, the pack settled into a quick but relaxed pace. Decker was ahead, running smoothly in her light, long stride. Budd was further back but pressing the pace. Tactically, Budd was an aggressive runner who liked a fast pace but she wasn’t a strong finisher, so she had to position herself early in the race. Decker on the other hand liked to stay relaxed and finish with a strong kick. Both runners were playing out their race strategies until mid-way, about 1,600 meters, when disaster struck.
Decker was running on the inside near the rail as Budd surged from behind, running off Decker’s right shoulder. As they rounded the final turn, Budd cut in more sharply, slightly ahead of Decker. Then Budd’s left foot grazed Decker’s right thigh. Budd wobbled to the left, and Decker’s foot struck Budd’s calf. Decker lost her balance, stumbled, and crashed down on the track infield. In a flash her race was over.
A slip, trip or fall at work can happen just as fast and with disastrous consequences. That’s why you have to prevent them. For starters, try these tips every day:
*Clean up spills immediately.
*Use ladders correctly and carefully.
*Wear skid-resistant shoes.
*Keep eyes on path.
*Exercise extra caution around loading docks, manholes, and other ledges.
A slip, trip or fall can result in a minor injury or a debilitating one. You never know. That’s why it pays to be careful. Mary Decker’s fall ended her hopes for Olympic gold in the 3,000 meters in 1984. But you can reach the gold standard for safety every day just by preventing slips, trips and falls. Remember-put your best for forward every day for safety.
It’s Your Call…
Stay alert to prevent a
SLIP, TRIP or FALL
*Copyright 2005 Harkins Safety B211
“Work Your Plan”
“Man makes or mars an organization.” So said B.C. Forbes, legendary founder of Forbes magazine, father to flamboyant tycoon Malcolm Forbes, and grandfather to current Forbes magazine editor and former presidential candidate Steve Forbes. B.C. Forbes was convinced that looking at an organization’s top man-the “head knocker,” as he called him-told you more about the business than the balance sheet ever could. Was he right? Here’s the story.
Born in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, in 1880, B.C. Forbes worked as a reporter and writer for a local newspaper. In 1901, he moved to Johannesburg, South Africa, to start up the Rand Daily Main newspaper. Three years later, he immigrated to the United Sates, where he worked as a writer and editor at the Journal of Commerce. After a few other jobs as a financial journalist, Forbes became disenchanted with the dry numbers of business and finance.
So in September 1917, Forbes magazine was born. B.C. Forbes devoted his new publication to doers, telling the stories of the people who ran successful companies and capturing the human side of business and finance. Forbes said “The most notable winners usually encountered heartbreaking obstacles-they won because they refused to become discouraged by their defeats.”
That first issue of Forbes profiled Charles Mitchell, who formed National City; notorious speculator and stock manipulator Jay Gould; and oil baron John D. Rockefeller, then the richest man in the world. Beyond the profiles, there were pages of investment analysis, but also poetry and fiction, even a section on women in business, a first for a business magazine.
Forbes magazine and its namesake B.C. Forbes clearly succeeded. Part showman and part businessman like his son Malcolm, B.C. Forbes was known for his inspirational quotes. He famously said, “Real riches are the riches possessed inside.” But B.C. Forbes was above all practical, and his most widely quoted sentiment is “Plan your work and work your plan”—good advice for business and for safety.
So before you start any job, take time to lay out your plan. Check job references, such as pre-job briefs, SDSs, and safety alerts. Ask yourself: What could go wrong? What could cause a fire or a spill? Could someone trip and fall? What are the hazards? Remember, safety is as much a part of your job as the tools you use.
Then once you start the job, follow your plan—work calmly and intelligently until it’s completed.
For Safety’s Sake…Plan Your Work, Work Your Plan
*Copyright 2004 Harkins Safety