Amazing Safety Story

Thanks for sharing this story Robert… another touching reminder of the importance of safety & positive reinforcement in our lives. – Bill Sims

 

Robert’s Story:

I was in attendance at your opening ceremony in Spokane, WA on the 26th and later that day I attended another session.  Just for the record,  I am new to this.  I have always been on the production floor in some type of manufacturing.  I now work at SGL Carbon in Moses Lake Washington.  I have been here over 4 years now.  We make carbon fiber.  We take a raw material combine it with high temperatures and turn that material  into one of the strongest most unforgiving materials on Earth.  This stuff has the potential to do serious harm however, this is my job.

I had dreamed about a person getting seriously injured when the carbon fiber rope got tangled around his arm.  I do not know how familiar you are with CF but this stuff is extremely strong, a person cannot break it.  I kept this dream to myself until I had lost so much sleep and time that I could not help but to try to do something to inform people of the hazard potential.  I kept this dream and my thought to myself for way to long.  At the point that this dream was about to consume me, I talked to my supervisor about it.  I asked if I could make a short safety power point about the potential this stuff has to causing harm, and was given the go ahead.  I completed it and got ready to present, but was stopped in my tracks by a few people.  The presentation was not ready.  It was full of graphic pictures and some things that are not related in any way to our process.  This is why it stopped, however, I got noticed and so did my passion for people and their safety.  I then was allowed to sit down with some people from administration and our safety department to develop a new Power Point.  This one did exactly what I wanted it to do.

Two days before I was scheduled to present, an accident happened involving the very thing I was trying to prevent.  A young lady was tying a knot into the rope and her finger got caught, luckily it was just the tip of her finger had it been below the knuckle she would have lost her finger.  I took part responsibility for this accident, had I just said something a few days earlier this might not have happened. Through this, my passion for people and their well being has heightened .  I have developed a concern for all that I talk to.  I make it a point, every day to talk to each person on the floor with me.  Not so much just talk but to get to know them a little bit better.  I have found that in talking to them and showing them I care about them and their lives they then respect me and my concerns for them.  Administration has also seen my passion and drive to make our place a safer place to work.  I am 41 years old and working on a bachelors degree in Environmental Sciences.  I had no idea what I was going to do with this piece of paper, but now I think I do.  I am going to try my best to make my place of employment the safest place to work.

I want to thank you for your passion and drive you provided in your presentation.  It was an honor to get to hear you speak.

The above story was submitted by Robert Vanatta of SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers, LLC.

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