What would you say if I asked you, what does safety third mean? After all, shouldn't safety be first? Shouldn't safety be the number one thing for all of us? The answer to those questions are yes, no, and it depends.
For years, we have all heard people say “Safety First.” We see construction sites with banners that read “Safety First!” or “Safety is Our #1 Goal!” However, as surprising as it may sound, safety is not everyone’s number one priority. When it comes to safety, the reality is that our personal safety is our personal responsibility.
Our personal safety cannot be shifted to someone else as their priority. If we do assume our safety is someone else’s priority, then do they transfer the responsibility of their safety to someone else? The fact is, we all have our own safety needs, and therefore, we all should be responsible for our own safety.
Safety on a Crab Boat
A person who makes an excellent argument for safety third is Mike Rowe, host of the TV show Dirty Jobs. In supporting his safety third mentality, Mike Rowe points to an experience he had when working on a crab boat some years ago when discussing what does safety third mean.
While working on the crab boat, a storm came up, and the seas became rough. Icy rain made the deck and gear slick and difficult to handle. Plus, the addition of thirty-foot seas made the work conditions about as bad as they could be.
With the conditions worsening and danger increasing, Mike Rowe went to ask the captain of the boat if he was going to shut down work on the deck. When asked, the captain replied with, “No, safety third.” Mike, confused by the captain’s response, responded with “Isn’t safety first?”
The captain then explained, “No, safety third. Safety third because each person has individual safety needs that others may not be aware of. Therefore, the individual is the responsibility of the individual.” Mike Rowe said, as he went back to work on the tossing and turning deck, he had an epiphany about how he had approached safety for his entire life.
Be Your Personal Safety Advocate
When it comes to safety, not only should we be our own greatest advocates. We should NOT expect others to put our safety as their first priority. While that may be surprising to someone, think about it this way. If someone puts our safety as their top priority, who will care about their safety and other things that are important to that individual.
Mike Rowe’s epiphany on the deck of a crab boat culminated in his life-changing experience where he felt, as never before, entirely in tune with his environment. Another way to describe this is that Mike Rowe was experiencing a high level of connectivity between his mental state, his environment, and his situational awareness.
With individuals all having unique needs at specific moments when it comes to their safety needs, is it the smart course of action to expect someone else to be responsible for our safety? Sure, we can hope that they keep an eye out for us to alert us if something negative will happen. In the end, though, placing our safety in the hands of another will only result in problems for the people who relinquish their personal safety to another.
What Does Safety Mean Quote of the Day
So, with that, let’s wrap up this on what does safety third mean with the quote of the day.
Today’s quote is by Kina Repp who said:
“You are your last line of defense in safety. It boils down to you.” ~Kina Repp
Never forget, you’re just one prep away.
If you have any other thoughts or questions about what does safety third mean, please leave a comment below.
Stay safe, secure and prepared,
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