Safety: Scientists or Charlatans

by Phil La Duke
Author
I Know My Shoes Are Untied Mind Your Own Business, Lone Gunman Rewriting the Handbook On Workplace Violence, and Blood In My Pocket is Blood On Your Hands

I work as a COVID Compliance Supervisor for a large entertainment conglomerate. When people hear this the conversation usually steers in one of two directions. Either people want an “insider’s view” of Hollywood film and television production, OR people want to rant about how COVID-19 is just a global hoax engineered by the Illuminati, Shriners, and Space Aliens. The sheer stupidity of some people is absolutely exhausting. Yes, I know, there are people out there who believe that the finest scientific minds of Alpha Centauri have traveled light years to come to Earth to create crop circles just to screw with our heads. I imagine the debate on AC going something like this: “listen, we waited way too long to get in on rectal probes, and we will be lucky to get a first look at the inner workings of a raccoon’s anus! If we don’t move on crop circles NOW the envelope will close!”) other dullards believe the world is flat, which I could get on board with if they meant flat as in tasteless…but they don’t.

But the blowback I have received from safety drones has really blown my hair back. One reader posted on a thread—interestingly a thread discussing the role that training had in safety—that (presumably because he saw my title) COVID is a global conspiracy whose purpose was to…I quit reading. This dumb-shit believes in global conspiracies but not basic (and I am talking high school biology level) science. I sit shoulder to virtual shoulder with some of the greatest scientific minds working today as a member of five Industrial Safety Review Boards. These boards oversee experiments involving Recombinant DNA, and now all but one includes at least some COVID-19 research, and one, in particular, is 100% devoted to studying the COVID-19 virus. By law or charter, each has to have at least two voting members that represent the interests of the community. I am one of the resident morons who ask dumb questions like, “if these mutated genes get out into the wild how many people will die horribly?” I joined my first board three years ago and I learn more in a single two-hour meeting than in a semester of college microbiology. I like it. It’s fascinating to be on the razor’s edge of scientific discovery. Unless you are one of the many pig-fuckers who believe that COVID isn’t real.
Before I get into the myths and sheer stupidity of not believing in COVID, or of thinking of it as just the flu, let me rant a bit about why we should tar and feather (I assume both are available from Amazon with Prime free delivery) the safety water heads who reject science in any form. If those of us working in safety don’t believe in science then what do we believe causes accidents? Magic? Ancient curses? An ancestor who spit on a witch? In a field where we struggle daily to be taken seriously, we can’t afford the marginally employed safety imbeciles to be given the same standing as the people who are looking for better, scientifically validated methods for lowering risk. The science deniers used to be laughable, akin to people who believe that mathematics was the work of a Chinese demon. We didn’t take them seriously, and yet now a considerable number have joined our ranks, and have driven people who know the value of scientific method from social media if not the field itself.

So back to COVID. I have several family members currently infected with the COVID virus and several others who have died from complications from the life-altering effects being infected and recovering had on them, so if you are tempted to ask me to prove it to you, I am more likely to prove that the repeated slamming of my fist into your head may not kill you or leave you blind, but you will wish to whatever sewer-spawned god to which you pray would have killed you. This I solemnly swear— one day you fuckers who write to me, or call me trying to intimidate me, or make me think you’re crazy are gonna push me to the point where I make Charles Manson look like Mr. Rogers on too high a dose of lithium; I shit you not. But until then let me dispel some of the dim-witted myths about COVID-19:

“It’s Just the Flu”
In the interest of full disclosure, when COVID came on the scene I was in the “it’s just the flu” camp. I was wrong…no it’s not. Covid is a contraction of CoronaVirus Disease in 2019. (Don’t get me started with why they felt the need to a) capitalize the “V” in CoronaVirus or b) add “disease” afterward; they just did. The “flu” is short for influenza. Influenza is a completely different virus and just like HIV and the common cold are also different viruses. One can be excused for confusing COVID-19 with influenza±are both contagious respiratory illnesses and neither have any highly effective treatments (doctors tend to treat symptoms and side effects—like bacterial pneumonia—rather than the disease itself. Despite the obvious similarities, there are significant differences. Let me break this down for all you Social Media Constitutional scholars turned budding armchair epidemiologists; COVID-19 is not “just the flu” in fact, it’s not the flu at all. Asking “what’s the difference?” is like asking the difference between being run over by a speeding car and being nudged by a mouth-breather with a shopping cart—both involve being struck by a vehicle, both vehicles have a human operating them, and both vehicles have wheels. So you are just being hit by a vehicle so you shouldn’t worry, right? But even if COVID was “just the flu” it wouldn’t be any joke. Experts estimate that over 65,000 people (that you probably don’t know) in the U.S. alone die from “just the flu” and those that survive it feels as if they barely escaped the grim reaper. Having “just the flu” sucks and it can lead to other life-limiting conditions as well.

Just as a side note, there is no such thing as “stomach flu” (although the term is widely used, influenza is a respiratory illness, not a gastrointestinal illness.) More accurately, a “stomach bug” is caused by a completely different and non-influenza virus and while it’s damn unpleasant it isn’t typically life-threatening. In many cases, what people describe as “stomach flu” is low-grade food poisoning. Wash your hands before you eat and you might want to choose a different restaurant.

So why worry about COVID? Well, I am not for worrying period, but on the other hand, I am a huge supporter of taking reasonable precautions to prevent myself from getting ill or being a selfish prick who blithely infects others with a potentially life-threatening illness. A lot of dimwits who feed on the fears of other dimwits compare COVID-19 to The Spanish Flu, I will address the fallacies one at a time later, but for now, let’s talk about how deadly the Spanish Flu was versus COVID. According to an article in “Smithsonian Magazine” Ten Myths About the 1918 Flu Pandemic The ‘greatest pandemic in history’ was 100 years ago – but many of us still get the basic facts wrong (which should be required reading for all the chowderheads who still want to perpetuate the crap they heard from their neighbor who read it on a dubious website written by a paranoid schizophrenic), The Spanish Flu killed about “25 million people in just the first six months” and ultimately killed between 50 and 100 million people. You have to admit that is a pretty impressive body count, particularly when you consider that there were less than 2 billion people on Earth at the time. Even so, experts in epidemiology now believe that contributors like close contact in the trenches of WWI, squalid living conditions in urban population centers, malnutrition, and general poor health of many of the people who died played major roles. In the same article mentioned above, scientists now believe that the treatment may have significantly increased the fatality rates—doctors were prescribing as much as 30 grams (not milligrams) of aspirin a day to patients (in case you’re wondering that is an order of magnitude above what is now considered the safe dosage). What is truly remarkable is how many people survived the illness but, unlike COVID-19, the flu has been around for a very, very long time and most of us have at least some immunity to it. No one is immune to COVID, some people are just fortunate not to get it and some get it without developing symptoms but still remain contagious.

CoronaViruses are nasty; typically originating in animals and jumping species. Contrary to what you may have heard, one need not eat or have carnal knowledge of an infected animal for the virus to infect you (but then again I am not recommending unprotected sex with animals either. I joke about this, but a fair amount of people actually believe that these diseases were the result of bestiality.)
So why do so many people dismiss COVID as “just the flu?” Because the symptoms are virtually identical so it is difficult for physicians to distinguish between the two, but it is important to remember that while influenza may not be a barrel of monkeys, COVID is far more likely to kill you or cause you life-limiting conditions, which leads me to my next point…

“A Lot Of The People Who They CLAIMED Died of COVID Really Died of Something Else”
In this case, people who make this claim may be right, but it falls into the “no shit” category. This statement is one of those things that people say that is technically correct but makes absolutely no difference; it’s like saying that the 911 terrorists didn’t kill anyone, the flames and the sudden stop after jumping off the roofs of the towers is what ACTUALLY killed them. It’s a semantic argument that only know-it-all blowhards make. According to the CDC, COVID can cause other health problems. “COVID-19 can affect your nose, throat, lungs (respiratory tract); cause an asthma attack, and possibly lead to pneumonia and acute respiratory disease”. So the point is if you “survive” COVID, but you die because of something that was CAUSED by COVID does it make a meaningful difference? Don’t bother answering, it was a rhetorical question. It’s like me asking whether it makes a difference if your dog was killed after being run over by a red car or a blue car? It’s a stupid point to make and it certainly doesn’t justify ignoring safety protocols.

“COVID Is A Global Conspiracy”
For a conspiracy to work secrecy is absolutely essential. There is an old Sicilian proverb that says, “how can three people keep a secret? When two of them are dead.” So for you to believe that not only is COVID a conspiracy, it’s a GLOBAL conspiracy you would have to believe that hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world are in on this big secret, but you were able to find out about it from your Facebook friend who failed the eighth grade three times somehow caught wind of it (probably from a dying journalist who confided in him alone) and shared it with you. I can’t tell you how often I have been told this, not just by the part-time nut (and full-time turd eater) mentioned above, but by many mentally unbalanced people who pass among us unnoticed. You can believe this is a global hoax; stupidity and gullibility is a basic, inalienable human right. Alternatively, you can believe that were it not for the internet this yahoo would be sending out 34 newsletters (26 of which were going to various government agents.) Personally, I don’t know three people I would trust with a secret let alone three hundred thousand or more.

“Masks Don’t Work/Mask Cause Carbon Dioxide Poisoning/They Can’t Make Me Wear A Mask”
There is actually something to the claim that masks don’t work, but probably not the way you think. Correctly wearing an appropriate mask can significantly lower the risk of spreading the virus, but yeah if you’re wearing a mask around your chin, leaving your nose exposed, removing it when you are talking, wearing it as a jockstrap, or wearing a mask that allows exhaled air to escape through gaps between the mask and your face—in short, if you are too stupid to wear a mask properly—then yes, you are correct, they won’t work.
But let’s back up a bit, masks were never intended to protect the wearer from getting COVID rather, it is intended to lower the risk of infected people (you can have the disease and not know it and be contagious before getting symptoms) and for this purpose, masks work well provided you are wearing a proper mask and wearing it properly. If you can breathe through a mask you can catch COVID through a mask.

COVID is transmitted on water droplets that we exhale either through conversation, coughing, sneezing, or singing (or any combination thereof). All viruses are tiny—smaller than dust, bacteria, and germs—much smaller than the gaps in a mask that allow you to inhale air. While it is true that there are some masks out there that have their own air supply they tend to be reserved for medical professionals. But this isn’t a binary Protects/Does Not Protect scenario. A mask will shorten the distance that your breath will travel particularly when sneezing or coughing. And since water droplets weigh more than air the infectious droplets relatively quickly to the ground.

The purpose of the mask isn’t to stop COVID entirely, rather the masks are designed to reduce the distance that the virus can travel and of course they are most effective when you keep at least six feet of distance between people who don’t live in your household. You should wear a mask because you may be contagious before showing symptoms or you may never develop symptoms and still carry the virus. Again, it shortens the distance it doesn’t erase it, so remember to stay at least 6 feet away from other people, especially me.

As for carbon dioxide poisoning, don’t be a dumbass. According to an article on the website Scienceing.com “After a human breathes in Earth’s air (roughly 78 percent nitrogen and 21 percent oxygen), he or she exhales a mixture of compounds similar to the air inhaled: 78 percent nitrogen, 16 percent oxygen, 0.09 percent argon, and 4% percent carbon dioxide.“ So we effectively exhale 400% more oxygen than carbon dioxide. The only ones who believe that masks cause CO2 poisoning are the people donning plastic bags on their heads—I’m not denying they are oxygen deprived, I’m merely pointing out that it probably happened long before they were told they had to wear a mask. Use your head people, if breathing exhaled breath would cause carbon dioxide poisoning given a person mouth to mouth would not resuscitate them; it would KILL them.

“I have a Constitutional Right to refuse to wear a mask”
Finally, I was recently in a tire store getting a tire repaired (I wanted to be clear that I wasn’t just hanging around a tire store) when the manager told an employee to put on a mask.  The employee balked and said he had a constitutional right not to wear a mask.  The manager reminded him that he DIDN’T have a constitutional right to a job at the tire store so he could either put on a mask or find another job.  But do you have a constitutional right not to wear a mask? No, according to the National Bar
Governments have the power to regulate in the name of safety. In a pandemic, state governments really are the key players…Under the U.S. Constitution’s 10th Amendment and U.S. Supreme Court decisions over nearly 200 years, state governments have the primary authority to control the spread of dangerous diseases within their jurisdictions. The 10th Amendment, which gives states all powers not specifically given to the federal government, allows them the authority to take public health emergency actions, such as setting quarantines and business restrictions.” So while the federal government has limited powers to enact requirements to spread the control of diseases, the States actually have quite a LOT of power to require you to do whatever they deem necessary to protect the general population from diseases. Even if the government didn’t have a right to order you to wear a mask your employer certainly does, so quit bellyaching.

Back To Safety and COVID
There is a lesson in here for all safety professionals: if we make the consequences too scary (death or a horrible life-altering condition) people will either suspend belief or will refuse to come to work because it’s just too dangerous. As I write this, the State of Michigan has set two consecutive records for the number of new cases reported and for the number of deaths. This is real, and the people who deny that it is real are chickenshit, just as the guy bitching about wearing a harness while working at height—it’s the rule so suit up and shut up or go find another job.

What we can learn from COVID is this? let people know the seriousness of the situation without making it seem hopeless. We have to communicate the risks and the rules in a language that people understand and to do that we have to understand that language ourselves.
About My New Book

In a couple of weeks my latest book, Blood In My Pockets Is Blood On Your Hands will be available for purchase. Why should you buy it? Well for starters I have been providing blog posts, articles, advice, and speeches on safety for free since 2006. That’s my choice, but it consumes time and resources I could be using to have a lot more fun. But beyond that, some of you seem to think I am a millionaire because I have three books published; I am not. I am the quintessential fool and his money, which doesn’t help. All of my book revenue funds more books, Even though I am published by an actual publisher, I pay the initial start-up costs to get the book from my computer to (hopefully your hands). These costs are not insubstantial—$100 an hour for an editor (which I finally broke down and paid for this book) even more an hour for a graphic artist to clean up the images and put the book into its final size, fees for getting the book an ISBN number, and the physical printing of the book (all told around $4,000) For this initial payment I get a substantially higher % of the royalties, but since I use that to pay my PR Manager $250 an hour to promote the book it’s fair to say that writing books is not a money machine. Oh and advertising, $50 bucks a month for Vertical Response to send out email blasts that less than 10% of you even open, $100 bucks a month for Shutterstock—absolutely overpriced in my opinion, and sundry books sent to book club organizers, libraries, and thieves who promise to either give the leadership of their book club with promises of hundreds of purchases likely to follow or to people like the leadership of ASSP who read both my books which I sent to them free of charge and hated the tone and lack of scholarly form so much that they didn’t even bother to return the books. Oh, and postage is an absolute bitch. So buy my books or don’t buy my books, but don’t think I’m getting rich off them. They are selling well, but I need to sell a lot more to stay ahead of the money pit.

WARNING: What follows may just teach you something but you won’t get any CEUs for it, you’ll just be better educated and informed but seriously who wants or needs that?

Some time ago, I read an article in the Metro Times (a Detroit Weekly) about a Facebook group essentially dedicated to encouraging attacks on women, Democrats, Muslims, and LGBTQ persons. There were hundreds of specific threats of violence. You don’t have to buy my book, but I wish you would. But if you want to help follow this link. Search LinkedIn to find out where these people work and encourage their employers to fire them. This isn’t a political statement, I would react the same way if people were saying that White Heterosexual Christian Men were the targets. Purveyors of hate need to feel real-world consequences. All it takes for evil to triumph is for good to do nothing.

Violent acts begin with violent thoughts that turn into violent posts on social media. How long are you going to continue to throw your hands up and say, “what can I do?” My second book, Lone Gunman: Rewriting the Handbook On Workplace Violence Prevention. answers this question. This is all new material that cannot be found anywhere else. In light of all the talk and panic around gun violence, and the shamefully bad advice some “experts” are giving I hope some of you will read it and pass it along to your executives and HR leads (go ahead, expense it, they will be glad you did.)

Before you dismiss this as yet another shameless plug for my book I want you to ask yourself these questions:

What if anything is my employer doing to reduce its risk of a workplace attack?
Do the people who are doing the hiring at my workplace know the warning signs of a workplace attack?
What can I do to prevent workplace violence?
If you don’t have the answer to any of these questions, use your Amazon gift card to buy the book. It can be purchased in hardcover or paperback at Amazon or Barnes & Noble

I should warn you, this isn’t a book that is pro- or anti-gun ownership rights. The book has extensive sections on spotting an unstable employee (some people’s lives will take a dark and desperate turn long after you have hired them but there are always signs), the types of work environments that tend to trigger these events, and I recently returned from Dublin, Ireland where I spoke on how companies can leverage technology to protect workers from workplace violence. But all the books, and magazines, and speeches in the world won’t change a damned thing if you keep thinking that it can’t (or probably won’t) happen to you or someone you love. You can bet your life that we will see more similar shootings in the weeks or months as people who are currently at the brink of sanity see the news reports and think, “now’s the time”. WAKE UP, PEOPLE!!!! This book is peppered with the sarcasm, self-deprecating humor of the first book, but it also makes use of my extensive knowledge of violence prevention in the workforce (that I gained as head of training and OD for a global manufacturer.) You should buy it.

Superstition Based Safety

By Phil La Duke
Author
I Know My Shoes Are Untied Mind Your Own Business, Lone Gunman Rewriting the Handbook On Workplace Violence, and Blood In My Pocket is Blood On Your Hands

Are you superstitious? I don’t consider myself superstitious but I am fascinated by the phenomena, particularly why people are superstitious.  If you think of it, a lot of superstitions are based on safety tips.  Why is it unlucky to walk under a ladder? Because a ladder generally could be a sign that someone is working above you and even if you don’t SEE a person working the danger of a dropped tool or a falling human still might exist, so yeah, I guess I can see why walking under a ladder is—at least potentially—bad luck.

Similarly, the superstition that putting shoes on the table was a harbinger of death reputedly rose from the practice of delivering a worker who was fatally injured on the job’s work boots (by far the most expensive possession of most workers centuries ago) to the widow.  When the bearer of bad news would enter the house he would place the boots on the table and tell the widow the terrible outcome. So in a very real way, boots (which overtime became shoes) on the table did indeed foretell at least the news of the death of a loved one. 

The list could go on and on; stepping on cracked pavement could be a trip hazard or a sign that a bridge or roof was about to collapse under the weight of the person who steps on a crack.  I know that people around the world have different taboos and superstitions, but that’s not really what I am looking to explore.  What I am more interested in is why the context was lost. 

My guess is that like many of us still do today, the warning was given about what not to do (or what to do) without telling people why it was important not to do that.

Any parent will tell you how irritating a child’s “why? stage” can be and will quickly add that the child will outgrow it. But I don’t think we ever outgrow the “why? Stage” nor should we.  As some of you may know, my degree is in Adult Education (I thought it would be dirty—it wasn’t). There are two basic tenets from Adult Learning theory (Andragogy, for the pendandics and nerds among you) that always stuck with me: 1) Adults need to respect the authority of the person giving them advice (“why should I listen to this clown?”) and 2) “What’s In It For Me?”

We tend to ignore these questions when we are teaching safety, or if we don’t ignore them outright we answer these questions in the most facile way.  Why should I listen to you? Because I’m the safety guy! I don’t know about you, but I’ve met these asshats and I couldn’t care less that they were anointed the “safety guy”. But if someone were to get up in front of the class and say, “Good Morning, I’m Josh Randal, and I am the safety manager for this facility.  I have worked in this industry for 18 years and have done most of the jobs out there.  For the last eight years I have been working in safety in one capacity or another. “ I am likely to at least give the guy the benefit of the doubt.  I am likely to be predisposed that this guy just might have something to say that is worth listening to.  Similarly, if the guy then says, “my job is to keep you alive” and follow up with gorey war stories, I guarantee I am going to tune out. Why? Because I have met enough self-important safety blowhards who treat workers as if they were too stupid to save their own lives. But, on the other hand, if the instructor continued with, “what we are going to cover in today’s session are some less obvious hazards, and our top ten injury causes.  My goal isn’t to read you a bunch of rules, rather I hope that I can give you good information that will help you to make informed decisions about the choices you make regarding risk and safety. We can’t cover everything that could harm you, but if we can at least help you to make better decisions based on good information, I will have done my job. None of us here wants to get hurt and the process isn’t designed to hurt anyone, so we have to work as a team to ensure we operate under the lowest possible risk.”

So why should I listen to this guy? Because he has worked at the grass roots level of this operation AND he probably knows a thing or two about real-world safety and not just academic safety.  What’s in It For Me? Good information that will help me make informed choices—not just rules that may or may not have anything to do with protecting me,  I’m a grown-assed man and I do have a modicum of common sense. I’m like most people.  I will follow the rule provided that the rule makes sense and that the rule is in my best interest.

Safety superstitions grow out of two basic origins: 1) a safety guy makes a rule without really understanding why—like the imbecilic rule that one has to hold on to the hand rail while walking up and down the steps. Like all superstitions this SOUNDS reasonable.  Except the purpose of a guard rail isn’t to keep people from falling down the steps, it’s to give people something that they can grab to break their fall. But some safety guy was taught at age 5 to hang on to the handrail by his mother and kept that safety gem in his head from that point forward.  I’ve worked in healthcare, and people are told NOT to touch the hand rail unless they have lost their balance, and then to sanitize their hands immediately afterwards.  In hospitals the risk of spreading deadly diseases is far greater than falling down the stairs. I followed the rule religiously because it was clearly explained to me by a clinician and it made sense. Furthermore, there are some nasty diseases going around hospitals and I didn’t want to catch one.

On the other had, I worked for a time where a dimwitted safety Nazi stood at the bottom of a massive staircase at shift change and would cast a steely gaze at the people on the staircase. Nothing delighted her more than writing up (and often firing) someone for not keeping his or her hands on the stairway.  She saw her job—like so many safety people do—as dispensing justice, when truth be told she was just dispensing stupidity and creating superstitions.

Just one final thought on safety superstitions: the best way to change a reasonable safety tip into a superstition is to not draw out the consequences of a bad decision.  Why is a bad idea to work at heights without some sort of fall protection? Because as you work you tend to become less and less situationally aware (as you become more and more focused on getting the job done) and so you are gradually increasing the probability of falling, and if you fall without protection the likelihood of your death rises. So protect yourself or don’t protect yourself, but don’t say you weren’t warned of the risks you are taking.

About My New Book

In a couple of weeks my latest book, Blood In My Pockets Is Blood On Your Hands will be available for purchase.  Why should you buy it? Well for starters I have been providing blog posts, articles, advice, and speeches on safety for free since 2006.  That’s my choice, but it consumes time and resources I could be using to have a lot more fun.  But beyond that, some of you seem to think I am a millionaire because I have three books published; I am not. I am the quintessential fool and his money, which doesn’t help.  All of my book revenue funds more books,  Even though I am published by an actual publisher, I pay the initial start up costs to get the book from my computer to (hopefully your hands). These costs are not insubstantial—$100 an hour for an editor (which I finally broke down and paid for this book) even more an hour for a graphic artist to clean up the images and put the book into its final size, fees for getting the book an ISBN number, and the physical printing of the book (all told around $4,000) For this initial payment I get a substantially higher % of the royalties, but since I use that to pay my PR Manager $250 an hour to promote the book it’s fair to say that writing books is not a money machine. Oh and advertising, $50 bucks a month for Vertical Response to send out email blasts that less than 10% of you even open, $100 bucks a month for Shutterstock—absolutely overpriced in my opinion, and sundry books sent to book club organizers, libraries, and thieves who promise to either give their leadership of their book club with promises of hundreds of purchases likely to follow, or to people like the leadership of ASSP who read both my books which I sent to them free of charge and hated the tone and lack of scholarly form so much that they didn’t even bother to return the books. Oh and postage is an absolute bitch.  So buy my books or don’t buy my books, but don’t think I’m getting rich off them.  They are selling well, but I need to sell a lot more to stay ahead of the money pit.

WARNING: What follows may just teach you something but you won’t get any CEUs for it, you’ll just be better educated and informed but seriously who wants or needs that?

Some time ago, I read an article in the Metro Times (a Detroit Weekly) about a Facebook group essentially dedicated to encouraging attacks on women, Democrats, Muslims, and LGBTQ persons.  There were hundreds of specific threats of violence.  You don’t have to buy my book, but I wish you would.  But if you want to help follow this link.  Search LinkedIn to find out where these people work and encourage their employers to fire them. This isn’t a political statement, I would react the same way if people were saying that White Heterosexual Christian Men were the targets.  Purveyors of hate need to feel real-world consequences.  All it takes for evil to triumph is for good to do nothing.

Violent acts begin with violent thoughts that turn into violent posts on social media. How long are you going to continue to throw your hands up and say, “what can I do?” My second book, Lone Gunman: Rewriting the Handbook On Workplace Violence Prevention. answers this question. This is all new material that cannot be found anywhere else. In light of all the talk and panic around gun violence, and the shamefully bad advice some “experts” are giving I hope some of you will read it and pass it along to your executives and HR leads (go ahead, expense it, they will be glad you did.)

Before you dismiss this as yet another shameless plug for my book I want you to ask yourself these questions:

  • What if anything is my employer doing to reduce its risk of a workplace attack?
  • Do the people who are doing the hiring at my workplace know the warning signs of a workplace attack?
  • What can I do to prevent workplace violence?

If you don’t have the answer to any of these questions, use your Amazon gift card to buy the book. It can be purchased in hardcover or paperback at Amazon or Barnes & Noble 

I should warn you, this isn’t a book that is pro- or anti-gun ownership rights. The book has extensive sections on spotting an unstable employee (some people’s lives will take a dark and desperate turn long after you have hired them but there are always signs), the types of work environments that tend to trigger these events, and I recently returned from Dublin, Ireland where I spoke on how companies can leverage technology to protect workers from workplace violence.  But all the books, and magazines, and speeches in the world won’t change a damned thing if you keep thinking that it can’t (or probably won’t) happen to you or someone you love. You can bet your life that we will see more similar shootings in the weeks or months as people who are currently at the brink of sanity see the news reports and think, “now’s the time”. WAKE UP, PEOPLE!!!! This book is peppered with the sarcasm, self-deprecating humor of the first book, but it also makes use of my extensive knowledge of violence prevention in the workforce (that I gained as head of training and OD for a global manufacturer.) You should buy it. 

Safety Sucks

By Phil La Duke
Author
I Know My Shoes Are Untied Mind Your Own Business, Lone Gunman Rewriting the Handbook On Workplace Violence, and Blood In My Pocket is Blood On Your Hands

It’s no exaggeration that I haven’t posted to my blog in a while.  No, I haven’t been too busy with other projects, and no I am not suffering from writer’s block. So why haven’t I posted in God knows how long? Because I have grown to hate safety.  It is a soul-sucking, occupation suffering from an identity crisis like a 14-year old girl. we’re not a science, we’re not an art, at best safety is a demented hobby akin to hoarding shit (sometimes literally) out of the garbage and piling it our personal ideologies.

Safety “professionals” run the gamut from pretentious academics whose last actual job was…well I don’t know that they actually had one…to the epsilon minuses who were put in the position out of  pity (it was either that or Euthanize them—and honestly I can’t say the powers that be made the right decision.) Some of the actual GREAT thinkers in safety were driven out of safety—from Dr. Jim Leeman, Chris Collins, Dr. Robert Long, (and how long has it been since Alan Quilley weighed in on a safety issue?)

Safety nitwits have so polluted LinkedIN (along with Microsoftic greed) that there have literally been times when I signed on to LinkedIN and did a double take thinking I was on Facebook.  I don’t give one tenth of a fuck about your inspirational meme. And even though I have it written in my headline AND my profile “don’t connect to me to try to sell me something” I get two or three mouth-breathers doing just that. Take a hint you fucking social networking maladroits.

LinkedIN sold out to Microsoft who decided LinkedIn would be more profitable if it could be the place where thought and intelligence went to die.

Are you enjoying this? If not, does it at least ring true? Does it offend you? If so fuck you, I neither want nor need you as a reader. I would tell you to go to Hell, but I feel like intellectually we are already there. LinkedIN does to intellect what sorted Boy Scout Troop leaders did to their charges (and I am not talking about what they were supposed to do,  which is to train the next generation of serial killers.  Think about it. The Boy Scouts teach eager kids how to tie knots, navigate in remote wooded areas, start fires, and dig shallow graves. They even issue them knives, collapsible shovels, and a hatchet.  Give them a case of bleach, a panel van and a copy of Silence Of the Lambs and they are all set.

The major problem with Safety is that we sit around arguing theories, stupid theories usually, and unstudied and untested theories at that. We spew so much horseshit that if we stood at the doors of the Augean Stables with our mouths open they would  fill up faster than Hercules himself wouldn’t be able to keep up.

Social media is killing us.  The stupid are given the same standing as the truly educated.  And the truly educated—the people who ate, breathed, and shit safety—threw up their hands and said, “screw it, these people deserve each other” and walked away. 

I gotta say, I sympathize.  Now that I am on the health side of safety and working in the film industry (no not porn, get your minds out of the gutter) I don’t have to listen to the same old inane arguments about how great one totally bullshit opinion is superior to another steaming heap of bullshit—the only difference is the bull that created it.

I get to solve problems in a world where scientific discovery ebbs and flows; it can feel like chasing the wind, but at least it is scientifically based. But even here mouth-breathing halfwits who failed high school biology weigh in on the efficacy of the science, like Nobel-Prize winning epidemiologists. It’s been said many times but I will say it again: YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO YOUR OWN ASININE, JUVENILE FAIRYTALE OF AN OPINION, BUT YOU DON’T HAVE YOUR A RIGHT TO YOUR OWN FACTS. 

So many of our world leaders are a cross between Charles Manson, Caligula, and Nero that it is troubling.  But what is more troubling is the sheepeople who support them, because they say what is on their minds and they don’t talk like politicians. When neither do I; do you want me to lead your country? To quote Alfred in Batman, “some people just want to watch the world burn”  and now I am beginning to feel like grabbing a bag of marshmallows and getting a good seat.

About My Latest Book

Blood In My Pockets Is Blood On Your Hands has be available for purchase for awhile. It was particularly marketing genius to go to market during a pandemic. Why should you buy it? Well for starters I have been providing blog posts, articles, advice, and speeches on safety for free since 2006.  That’s my choice, but it consumes time and resources I could be using to have a lot more fun.  But beyond that, some of you seem to think I am a millionaire because I have three books published; I am not. I am the quintessential fool and his money, which doesn’t help.  All of my book revenue funds more books,  Even though I am published by an actual publisher, I pay the initial start up costs to get the book from my computer to (hopefully your hands). These costs are not insubstantial—$100 an hour for an editor (which I finally broke down and paid for this book) even more an hour for a graphic artist to clean up the images and put the book into its final size, fees for getting the book an ISBN number, and the physical printing of the book (all told around $4,000) For this initial payment I get a substantially higher % of the royalties, but since I use that to pay my PR Manager $250 an hour to promote the book it’s fair to say that writing books is not a money machine. Oh and advertising, $50 bucks a month for Vertical Response to send out email blasts that less than 10% of you even open, $100 bucks a month for Shutterstock—absolutely overpriced in my opinion, and sundry books sent to book club organizers, libraries, and thieves who promise to either give their leadership of their book club with promises of hundreds of purchases likely to follow, or to people like the leadership of ASSP who read both my books which I sent to them free of charge and hated the tone and lack of scholarly form so much that they didn’t even bother to return the books. Oh and postage is an absolute bitch.  So buy my books or don’t buy my books, but don’t think I’m getting rich off them.  They are selling well, but I need to sell a lot more to stay ahead of the money pit.

WARNING: What follows may just teach you something but you won’t get any CEUs for it, you’ll just be better educated and informed but seriously who wants or needs that?

Some time ago, I read an article in the Metro Times (a Detroit Weekly) about a Facebook group essentially dedicated to encouraging attacks on women, Democrats, Muslims, and LGBTQ persons.  There were hundreds of specific threats of violence.  You don’t have to buy my book, but I wish you would.  But if you want to help follow this link.  Search LinkedIn to find out where these people work and encourage their employers to fire them. This isn’t a political statement, I would react the same way if people were saying that White Heterosexual Christian Men were the targets.  Purveyors of hate need to feel real-world consequences.  All it takes for evil to triumph is for good to do nothing.

Violent acts begin with violent thoughts that turn into violent posts on social media. How long are you going to continue to throw your hands up and say, “what can I do?” My second book, Lone Gunman: Rewriting the Handbook On Workplace Violence Prevention. answers this question. This is all new material that cannot be found anywhere else. In light of all the talk and panic around gun violence, and the shamefully bad advice some “experts” are giving I hope some of you will read it and pass it along to your executives and HR leads (go ahead, expense it, they will be glad you did.)

Before you dismiss this as yet another shameless plug for my book I want you to ask yourself these questions:

  • What if anything is my employer doing to reduce its risk of a workplace attack?
  • Do the people who are doing the hiring at my workplace know the warning signs of a workplace attack?
  • What can I do to prevent workplace violence?

If you don’t have the answer to any of these questions, use your Amazon gift card to buy the book. It can be purchased in hardcover or paperback at Amazon or Barnes & Noble 

I should warn you, this isn’t a book that is pro- or anti-gun ownership rights. The book has extensive sections on spotting an unstable employee (some people’s lives will take a dark and desperate turn long after you have hired them but there are always signs), the types of work environments that tend to trigger these events, and I recently returned from Dublin, Ireland where I spoke on how companies can leverage technology to protect workers from workplace violence.  But all the books, and magazines, and speeches in the world won’t change a damned thing if you keep thinking that it can’t (or probably won’t) happen to you or someone you love. You can bet your life that we will see more similar shootings in the weeks or months as people who are currently at the brink of sanity see the news reports and think, “now’s the time”. WAKE UP, PEOPLE!!!! This book is peppered with the sarcasm, self-deprecating humor of the first book, but it also makes use of my extensive knowledge of violence prevention in the workforce (that I gained as head of training and OD for a global manufacturer.) You should buy it. 

That Mask Won’t Save You

By Phil La Duke
Author
I Know My Shoes Are Untied Mind Your Own Business and Lone Gunman Rewriting the Handbook On Workplace Violence

I have deliberately put off this post, because so many people are turning masks into political statements. This is not a political statement.  Masks are useful PPE for protecting us from dust or for concealing our identities when we are involved in violent crimes. But when it comes to protecting you or others a bandana or cloth mask just won’t do it. Unless, unlike most, you follow the Johns Hopkins guidelines. I find that research institutions like JH or Harvard Medical are the best sources but   I have already exhausted my patience arguing with idiots so you can save your breath. 

But as someone who has devoted two decades to safety both as a job and as an all-consuming passion to push folklore, mysticism, snake-oil, and abject stupidity out of the field in favor of science, I thought would examine why people are so resistant to following the rules.  In Michigan, this week our governor responded to noncompliance by implementing more and stricter measures. This is no different than industry responding to noncompliance with its existing rules by enacting more rules until there are so many rules that it is ridiculous.

So I given considerable thought to once again, why we don’t violate the rules and I have come up with the four laws for compliance:

  1. The rule must be clearly communicated. In the COVID-19 executive orders the language is infuriatingly vague, filtered to the people prematurely and on social media.  The first absolute truth is the rule must clearly articulate the line between compliance and noncompliance.
  2. As a subset of the first law, the rule must be clearly and uniformly understood. Let’s take that mask rule: I am required to wear a face covering in any enclosed public facility. Does that mean that I have to wear a mask in the stink tubes that are portable toilets? (believe me I have no problem doing so.) Do I have to have it cover both my head and mouth or just my mouth? What are the acceptable exceptions to the rules? If people don’t know the answers, or if their answers don’t line up with the expectations, we can truly have a mess on our hands.
  3. What Are the Consequences Of Violating the Rule? Am I going to die if I don’t wear a mask? No, but if I am sick I might have a chance of not making someone else sick: Will I be arrested? No, but if I am in trouble for something else the police might take that on as an additional charge. Will I suffer the wrath of an angry mob that is filled with idiots wearing the wrong masks or wearing their PPE improperly? Maybe, and again, I have a problem with that.
  4. What Can I Do If I Don’t Like The Rule? If you don’t like a law you can write to your congressman/woman, or to the governor, or peacefully protest it.  You can’t march on the capital brandishing firearms in protest. 

I think this is a pretty simple formula for compliance, so why do so many organizations (in Government and in Industry) screw it up?

First, we don’t do a good job communicating the rule because oftentimes we don’t really understand the rule ourselves.  Whether it be a law or a rule, organizations like to keep things subject to significant interpretation to allow them to squash someone like a bug for doing something they don’t like.  Lawyers deliberately use vagaries to cheat people out of their rights or to nullify their clients’ contractual obligations. Legalese as it is called, is a useful way to leave room for interpretation. If you want to fire someone, you don’t want a rule to be very specific, but if you are a labor Union you very much want to know exactly what the rule is so that it can be evenly and fairly enforced.

Second, (piggybacking on the first point) is that we don’t really care if people understand the rule as long as we can get them to sign a piece of paper acknowledging that they received the information and that they understood it.  It often works better for us if they don’t have a clue if the people understand the rule particularly if it infringes on their rights.  People have become such sheep that they will sign a paper that allows their employers to harvest their organs just to get out of sitting through a safety presentation.  Even as you read this, employers are inserting chips into their employees (I wish I were joking) to track their productivity.  You read that right. It’s not to ensure the worker can be located in a medical emergency or to be sure they are accounted for in the event of an evacuation. No it’s to track how much blood they can squeeze from a stone.  And what of the people who refuse? In many municipalities that isn’t an option. What about people who leave the company? Will the company remove the chips? We’re right back to square one on this one. Nobody is accurately communicating why this is necessary so we can’t say what the long-term how it will affect the workplace.

Third, consequences are often so severe that employers have painted themselves into a corner.  I remember working at a factory that had 37% absenteeism. The factory was slated to close and the new factory had already been built and staffed and all that remained was the dregs from the old plant and new hires (I’ll leave it to you to guess which one I was.) So here is an operation where on any given day over one third of the workers were absent. This was a poorly managed operation with a sharp Union.  Guess what the penalty was for being absent? Time off without pay.  Nobody in management ever thought about the absurdity of punishing time off by forcing people to take more time off.  What’s more, despite the fact that absenteeism was without a doubt the biggest problem that the plant faced,  three days, a week or even a month off without pay was virtually the only disciplinary measure (apart from outright dismissal) the plant ever took.

One day I was having a particularly rough time keeping up with the line and I put on three (of the 1800) parts that were wrong.  I got called into the foreman’s office and he asked if I wanted my Union rep. They had the write up in front of me but offered me a deal: they would put the write up in my disciplinary file but would not give me the time off. My discipline would be “on paper”.  To any future boss or HR manager it would look as if I had been put out of the plant on unpaid disciplinary leave but I wouldn’t suffer any financial consequence.

Please understand that in two days I was making more money than I was making in two weeks at my old job.  I looked at them stone faced and said, “No.  I won’t learn my lesson unless there are financial consequences. In fact, I don’t think a three day suspension is enough. I don’t think I will learn my lesson unless you give me a month off without pay.” I refused their offer and asked to be excused so I could gather my things.  It was June and the plant was over 100° and stank like body odor, machine oil, and the gut trucks parked in the sun at the rendering plant across the river.  A month off would be a nice break.  

They looked stricken. I had perfect attendance and did one of the most physically demanding jobs on the line. “I screwed for a living and came home dirty and sore” I used to brag to my friends, or the stranger at the bank, or a stray dog…it mattered little to me. I thought it was funny then and I think it’s funny now.

They stopped me from leaving the phone booth-sized office as they made some phone calls. The phone booth got fuller and fuller.  Finally, the second in command of the plant, the man who hired me and with whom I had developed a cordial relationship if not out-and-out friendship, happened by and asked what was going on.  The managers looked like deer in headlights.  I piped up with, “Bob, they are sending me home for a month without pay.  I put on three parts that were wrong and I need to be made an example of.” Bob frowned.  “Don’t blame them, Bob, they are doing this for my own good. I won’t ever learn unless I am punished.” Now Bob was visibly angry.  He took the write-up from my foreman’s hands and tore it up. He said, “La Duke, get back to work” I knew from the murderous look on his face that now was not the time to push it any further.  As I left the office I heard him say, “Don’t @#$! With him; he’s smarter than you. A lot smarter than you.”

The rules were a joke. We knew they were a joke because the only leverage they had wasn’t really leverage. If there is no consequence for not complying only a rarified few will follow the rule if it inconveniences or annoys them in any way.  There were a lot of things they could have done to punish me, but that never occurred to them. 

Finally, people need to know what they can do if they don’t like the rule. In the case of rules in the organization you can make your appeal to the source. I remember when I worked directly for the CFO of a global automotive supplier. I had just returned from my business trip and gone over the daily food allotments, of $5 a day for breakfast, $10 a day for lunch, and $15 a day for dinner.  My boss approved the expense reports and I asked my admin if there was any reason to keep my receipts. She said “no, the CFO signed off on it so just throw them away”. So I did.  Accounting kicked my expense report because I went over the ridiculously low food amounts.  I complained to my boss who said, “don’t worry about it, just next time keep your receipts.”  Now I hate rules but will comply, but I will always fight to change them.  I went to Denny’s which was the cheapest restaurant that would accept a credit card at the time.  I found that all I could order for breakfast was a Cereal Scrambler (literally a bowl of cold cereal) and a glass of water, my lunch was similarly constrained, and there was NOTHING I could order for dinner.  

I sat down and hammered out a 36-page policy that was more realistic.  I printed a copy of the memo I was preparing for the CEO and handed it to my peer and buddy the head of HR.  He read it and shook his head.  He looked half frightened when he told me, “I wouldn’t send this”.  I considered not sending it, but in the end I couldn’t NOT send it. I sent the email, feeling like my career was over when I pressed the button.

A few days later I got called into my boss’s office.  He had a print out of the email.  His face was inscrutable.  He told me to sit down and I did.  He hesitated and all I could think is how this man NEVER minced words. Then he spoke. “(The CEO) asked me about this, and first of all thank you for copying me on this.  We talked and I want you to know that I told him that I thought every point you made was dead on, but he’s a cheap sonofabitch so don’t expect much to change.  A month later a new policy was released and to my delight all but one of my recommendations. But most companies have an “if you don’t like it there’s the door” mentality, and that causes workers to erupt, quit, and may even usher in workplace violence.  Everyone in the organization should be able to have their say about a policy and if you want people to comply you have to explain why. 

About My New Book

In a couple of weeks my latest book, Blood In My Pockets Is Blood On Your Hands will be available for purchase.  Why should you buy it? Well for starters I have been providing blog posts, articles, advice, and speeches on safety for free since 2006.  That’s my choice, but it consumes time and resources I could be using to have a lot more fun.  But beyond that, some of you seem to think I am a millionaire because I have three books published; I am not. I am the quintessential fool and his money, which doesn’t help.  All of my book revenue funds more books,  Even though I am published by an actual publisher, I pay the initial start-up costs to get the book from my computer to (hopefully your hands). These costs are not insubstantial—$100 an hour for an editor (which I finally broke down and paid for this book) even more an hour for a graphic artist to clean up the images and put the book into its final size, fees for getting the book an ISBN number, and the physical printing of the book (all told around $4,000) For this initial payment I get a substantially higher % of the royalties, but since I use that to pay my PR Manager $250 an hour to promote the book it’s fair to say that writing books is not a money machine. Oh and advertising, $50 bucks a month for Vertical Response to send out email blasts that less than 10% of you even open, $100 bucks a month for Shutterstock—absolutely overpriced in my opinion, and sundry books sent to book club organizers, libraries, and thieves who promise to either give their leadership of their book club with promises of hundreds of purchases likely to follow, or to people like the leadership of ASSP who read both my books which I sent to them free of charge and hated the tone and lack of scholarly form so much that they didn’t even bother to return the books. Oh and postage is an absolute bitch.  So buy my books or don’t buy my books, but don’t think I’m getting rich off them.  They are selling well, but I need to sell a lot more to stay ahead of the money pit.

WARNING: What follows may just teach you something but you won’t get any CEUs for it, you’ll just be better educated and informed but seriously who wants or needs that?

Some time ago, I read an article in the Metro Times (a Detroit Weekly) about a Facebook group essentially dedicated to encouraging attacks on women, Democrats, Muslims, and LGBTQ persons.  There were hundreds of specific threats of violence.  You don’t have to buy my book, but I wish you would.  But if you want to help follow this link.  Search LinkedIn to find out where these people work and encourage their employers to fire them. This isn’t a political statement, I would react the same way if people were saying that White Heterosexual Christian Men were the targets.  Purveyors of hate need to feel real-world consequences.  All it takes for evil to triumph is for good to do nothing.

Violent acts begin with violent thoughts that turn into violent posts on social media. How long are you going to continue to throw your hands up and say, “what can I do?” My second book, Lone Gunman: Rewriting the Handbook On Workplace Violence Prevention. answers this question. This is all new material that cannot be found anywhere else. In light of all the talk and panic around gun violence, and the shamefully bad advice some “experts” are giving I hope some of you will read it and pass it along to your executives and HR leads (go ahead, expense it, they will be glad you did.)

Before you dismiss this as yet another shameless plug for my book I want you to ask yourself these questions:

  • What if anything is my employer doing to reduce its risk of a workplace attack?
  • Do the people who are doing the hiring at my workplace know the warning signs of a workplace attack?
  • What can I do to prevent workplace violence?

If you don’t have the answer to any of these questions, use your Amazon gift card to buy the book. It can be purchased in hardcover or paperback at Amazon or Barnes & Noble 

I should warn you, this isn’t a book that is pro- or anti-gun ownership rights. The book has extensive sections on spotting an unstable employee (some people’s lives will take a dark and desperate turn long after you have hired them but there are always signs), the types of work environments that tend to trigger these events, and I recently returned from Dublin, Ireland where I spoke on how companies can leverage technology to protect workers from workplace violence.  But all the books, and magazines, and speeches in the world won’t change a damned thing if you keep thinking that it can’t (or probably won’t) happen to you or someone you love. You can bet your life that we will see more similar shootings in the weeks or months as people who are currently at the brink of sanity see the news reports and think, “now’s the time”. WAKE UP, PEOPLE!!!! This book is peppered with the sarcasm, self-deprecating humor of the first book, but it also makes use of my extensive knowledge of violence prevention in the workforce (that I gained as head of training and OD for a global manufacturer.) You should buy it. 

Read. Learn. Live. Inspire. Share. 

It’s Father’s Day and I Miss My Dad

By Phil La Duke
Author
I Know My Shoes Are Untied Mind Your Own Business, Lone Gunman Rewriting the Handbook On Workplace Violence, and Blood In My Pockets Is Blood On Your Hands: A Better Approach To Worker Safety coming soon.

“It’s hard to say grace or sit in the place of someone missing at the table.”

—Tom Waits, “The Fall of Troy”

Today is Father’s Day in the U.S.  It’s a day where we celebrate and honor our fathers.  For me, and many like me, Father’s Day is tinged with sadness because our fathers are no longer with us. There are some who chose to leave and others, like mine who was snatched from us prematurely simply because they went to work.

My dad died—a horrible and agonizing death—almost 20 years ago simply because he did his job.  He did die while physically at work or while on the timeclock, but as sure as you are reading this his work killed him.  He died of mesothelioma, an industrial disease (a form of cancer that eats holes in your pleura (the thin layer of mucus membrane that contains your lungs) and allows your body fluids to surround your lungs and slowly crush the wind out of you.) The only known cause of mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos. It can be transmitted, I’m told, by asbestos particles on work clothes so as children run to hug daddy as he returns to work they can be exposed. Similarly, a wife laundering asbestos covered work clothes could also contract the disease.

My family was spared this fate.  Dad worked as a  boiler mechanic and as the vice president of the trades Union for a major power company.  His Union work was limited and often performed off-hours so the majority of the time he was neck deep in soot, asbestos dust, and God knows how many other industrial poisons that may well have killed him had the mesothema not gotten to him first. He rented his work clothes and showered before returning home—so without knowing it, he was protecting his wife and kids.

It’s easy to assume that victims of industrial diseases would have been spared had they only followed the appropriate safety protocols. In fact, I have even heard safety personnel insinuate that all that is generally needed is to listen to the advice of experts. But there weren’t any experts, not then anyway.

Post World War II jobs were plentiful, so much in fact that when my dad was discharged from the service circa 1945 he immediately got a job at a Ford Motor plant, but he decided he didn’t care for the job and quit at lunchtime.  He walked across the street and accepted a position working at Firestone tires and he didn’t like that any better so he quit at the end of the day.

The next day he got a job working at Detroit Edison and worked there for 40 years or so before retiring, “to let the younger guys have a job.”  He was a natural athlete and played for the company softball team until he was in his sixties, but quit when the younger players wouldn’t show up for games and they would have to forfeit. “I don’t mind losing to a better team or a team that just out plays us, but I won’t lose because we don’t have enough players.

For most of those 40 years there was no such thing as OSHA, and it was only Union-negotiated safety rules that stood between workers going home in the same condition as in which they arrived and ending up mangled and maimed after falling afoul to a mistake and an unforgiving process.  In my first book,  I Know My Shoes Are Untied! Mind Your Own Business. An Iconoclast’s View of Workers’ Safety I included a blog post, “An Open Letter to Safety Professionals from the 4,690 Workers Who Died On the Job In the United States in 2010” and it created a firestorm of protest and whining from safety personnel who felt wrongly accused of complicity in the deaths of workers.  I actually had written a response to the letter that I had scheduled for release the following week but was tempted to pull it because in lieu of the vitriol I received the response from the “safety guy” seemed to pander to the people.  I posted it anyway.  

My point was, is, and ever shall be is that anyone associated with safety can’t smugly and self-righteously claim to SAVE lives while at the same time distancing themselves from the many workplace fatalities. My dad, and my brother-in-law (who was more of a big brother than an in-law and died of silicosis after 30 years on Zug Island, a site so polluted that it was once listed in the Guinness book of world records as the dirtiest square mile on earth.) aren’t considered workplace fatalities, nor is the late Bill Sagy, a colleague and dear friend of mine who died from an infection after a surgery to correct a workplace spinal injury that had occurred 30+ years prior. A seemingly insignificant injury today can kill you tomorrow or decades from now.

There was no one looking out for my dad’s safety for most of his career, and while he deeply distrusted management (a trait that you may have noticed I have inherited although I have worked in white-collar jobs for most of my career) he never blamed his employer. And despite the urgings of his lawyers he refused to sue them. “Edison got us all the safety equipment and information they knew as soon as they knew of the dangers they protected us as best they could” he argued.  He was so anti-litigious that he wouldn’t even sue when my mother died suddenly from a faulty pacemaker.  “Medical science gave us thirty years with your mother that we wouldn’t have otherwise had”, he told my siblings and I, “and these medical device companies aren’t going to take any lawsuit settlement out of profits; they’ll take them out of research. By suing them we could just be killing someone else’s mother.”  That’s the kind of many he was, by all accounts a stand up guy.  A man of deep integrity and the kind of charisma that made people who barely knew him respect him.

When my dad found out that the manufacturers of asbestos knew about, and concealed, the dangers of working with this poison, he sued them. He never talked about it, at least to me, but I got the sense that he resented being monetized, that his life and death were just a part of doing business; a justifiable risk.  Disclosing what they knew about asbestos may have put them out of business and what is that compared to my dad dying? It wasn’t personal; it’s just business. But for my dad and my family it was very personal. These buckets of slime took something from me that can never be replaced.

Politicians and captains of industry look at health (as in industrial diseases) and safety in much the same way: intrusive, burdensome, onuses that get in the way of them making their next billion. And in an economic environment with so many people unemployed there will likely be plenty of people so grateful to have a job that they will ignore the peril their employers will subject them simply because they have a job when so many others don’t.

We have to come together and fight for not only jobs but safe jobs (well at least jobs where every practicable action has been taken to reduce the risk of injuries) instead of just jobs.

At any rate happy Fathers Day to everyone everywhere, and remember as long as people are dying for doing their jobs employers by action or inaction are killing someone’s father, mother, sibling, friend, or child.

Anyway, it’s Father’s Day and I miss my dad.

Stay well and be safe.

About My New Book

In a couple of weeks my latest book, Blood In My Pockets Is Blood On Your Hands will be available for purchase.  Why should you buy it? Well for starters I have been providing blog posts, articles, advice, and speeches on safety for free since 2006.  That’s my choice, but it consumes time and resources I could be using to have a lot more fun.  But beyond that, some of you seem to think I am a millionaire because I have three books published; I am not. I am the quintessential fool and his money, which doesn’t help.  All of my book revenue funds more books,  Even though I am published by an actual publisher, I pay the initial start up costs to get the book from my computer to (hopefully your hands). These costs are not insubstantial—$100 an hour for an editor (which I finally broke down and paid for this book) even more an hour for a graphic artist to clean up the images and put the book into its final size, fees for getting the book an ISBN number, and the physical printing of the book (all told around $4,000) For this initial payment I get a substantially higher % of the royalties, but since I use that to pay my PR Manager $250 an hour to promote the book it’s fair to say that writing books is not a money machine. Oh and advertising, $50 bucks a month for Vertical Response to send out email blasts that less than 10% of you even open, $100 bucks a month for Shutterstock—absolutely overpriced in my opinion, and sundry books sent to book club organizers, libraries, and thieves who promise to either give their leadership of their book club with promises of hundreds of purchases likely to follow, or to people like the leadership of ASSP who read both my books which I sent to them free of charge and hated the tone and lack of scholarly form so much that they didn’t even bother to return the books. Oh and postage is an absolute bitch.  So buy my books or don’t buy my books, but don’t think I’m getting rich off them.  They are selling well, but I need to sell a lot more to stay ahead of the money pit.

WARNING: What follows may just teach you something but you won’t get any CEUs for it, you’ll just be better educated and informed but seriously who wants or needs that?

Some time ago, I read an article in the Metro Times (a Detroit Weekly) about a Facebook group essentially dedicated to encouraging attacks on women, Democrats, Muslims, and LGBTQ persons.  There were hundreds of specific threats of violence.  You don’t have to buy my book, but I wish you would.  But if you want to help follow this link.  Search LinkedIn to find out where these people work and encourage their employers to fire them. This isn’t a political statement, I would react the same way if people were saying that White Heterosexual Christian Men were the targets.  Purveyors of hate need to feel real-world consequences.  All it takes for evil to triumph is for good to do nothing.

Violent acts begin with violent thoughts that turn into violent posts on social media. How long are you going to continue to throw your hands up and say, “what can I do?” My second book, Lone Gunman: Rewriting the Handbook On Workplace Violence Prevention. answers this question. This is all new material that cannot be found anywhere else. In light of all the talk and panic around gun violence, and the shamefully bad advice some “experts” are giving I hope some of you will read it and pass it along to your executives and HR leads (go ahead, expense it, they will be glad you did.)

Before you dismiss this as yet another shameless plug for my book I want you to ask yourself these questions:

  • What if anything is my employer doing to reduce its risk of a workplace attack?
  • Do the people who are doing the hiring at my workplace know the warning signs of a workplace attack?
  • What can I do to prevent workplace violence?

If you don’t have the answer to any of these questions, use your Amazon gift card to buy the book. It can be purchased in hardcover or paperback at Amazon or Barnes & Noble 

I should warn you, this isn’t a book that is pro- or anti-gun ownership rights. The book has extensive sections on spotting an unstable employee (some people’s lives will take a dark and desperate turn long after you have hired them but there are always signs), the types of work environments that tend to trigger these events, and I recently returned from Dublin, Ireland where I spoke on how companies can leverage technology to protect workers from workplace violence.  But all the books, and magazines, and speeches in the world won’t change a damned thing if you keep thinking that it can’t (or probably won’t) happen to you or someone you love. You can bet your life that we will see more similar shootings in the weeks or months as people who are currently at the brink of sanity see the news reports and think, “now’s the time”. WAKE UP, PEOPLE!!!! This book is peppered with the sarcasm, self-deprecating humor of the first book, but it also makes use of my extensive knowledge of violence prevention in the workforce (that I gained as head of training and OD for a global manufacturer.) You should buy it.

Everybody’s Talking About the New Normal

How About We Do Better Instead?

By Phil La Duke

Author
I Know My Shoes Are Untied Mind Your Own Business and Lone Gunman Rewriting the Handbook On Workplace Violence

Everyone is talking about the new normal as if we were doing such an excellent job before, but really should we aspire to do better than going back to normal as much as we can. What I learned from the COVID-19 pandemic was that people are incredibly stupid and panicky.  Before I go any further let me do some level setting. There are people out there who seem to think “Pandemic” is some sort of Babylonian demon-god and they aren’t going to fall for a government ruse to scare them into…I never quite caught the rest of the Pandemic deniers rant.  A pandemic is a global outbreak of a disease.  COVID-19 meets that criteria.  It is also an epidemic, which is an outbreak of a disease that infects a large portion of a population; COVID-19 also meets this criteria.  We have had flu epidemics before and we will have them again.

We were ill prepared for the outbreak at home as long as it seemed to be confined within the boundaries of many countries.  As long as people were dying elsewhere we assumed it couldn’t  happen here.  We sat on our ample asses and did nothing until it landed with a vengeance.  It’s important to note that elderly people died from COVID-19 at a disproportionate rate but then elderly people die from strokes, heart failure, falls, and from just being old at a disproportionate rate.

Now there are claims that the books are being cooked to exaggerate the number of deaths from COVID-19, one Detroit thoracic surgeon claims that in his 15 years as a surgeon he has never seen a hospital that had zero deaths from heart attack or stroke for two months, and yet his current hospital hasn’t reported a single death from either since the Federal government started dispersing funds based on COVID cases.  Other people with a vested interest in COVID deaths are comparing death rates from last fall to the present in an effort to justify claims of a much higher death rate.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommended people wear masks, but not good masks, just a bandana.  Now this is like trying to keep mosquitoes out of your house by using chicken wire instead of a screen.  People hoarded masks, and hand sanitizer, and toilet paper without really understanding why.  Panic gripped the population and panic makes people do stupid things.

As I watched this shit-show unfold, it amazed me that the CDC and the government (at least in the U.S.) acted exactly like Safety personnel.  We sit around waiting for an incident or injury to occur before we launch into action.  We know the kind of accidents that COULD happen but we seldom implement meaningful preventive measures.  Even though it happens in our industry we just figure it can’t happen to us.  Fatalities? Not us. Workplace violence? That’s someone else’s problem. Fire? Not likely.  We are so positive that we have a safe workplace that we are actually surprised when someone is injured in a completely and easily predicted way.  It’s insane. It’s disheartening. But it’s normal. 

We typically ignore the most effective controls on the Hierarchy of Controls and default to the least effective (COVID experts recommended masks, gloves (then not gloves) and administrative controls like washing your hands and staying away from sick people.  Who came up with this crap? A sixth grade science class? They even neglected to tell people to use soap and HOT water for at least 20 seconds.

The airlines made a BIG deal about them cleaning and sanitizing planes between flights. WTF? They have been telling us that is why we have to wait before boarding.  I’ve always found airplanes filthy cesspools and breathe a sigh of relief when I don’t find a dead rat in my seat pocket. Seriously?!?! Your response to germs is to promise to do something that you have been lying about doing for ten years? Why should I believe you now?

Hotels similarly have announced that they are going to actually clean rooms between guests AND won’t be offering maid service unless requested, virtually admitting that you are most likely better off not having the maids “clean” your room.

So here is my challenge to the six people reading this: take a look at your workplace and ask yourself what are the equivalent damned stupid things you are doing in safety? And how can we move away from vestigial stupidity and toward innovative preventive measures?

About My New Book
In a couple of weeks my latest book, Blood In My Pockets Is Blood On Your Hands will be available for purchase.  Why should you buy it? Well for starters I have been providing blog posts, articles, advice, and speeches on safety for free since 2006.  That’s my choice, but it consumes time and resources I could be using to have a lot more fun.  But beyond that, some of you seem to think I am a millionaire because I have three books published; I am not. I am the quintessential fool and his money, which doesn’t help.  All of my book revenue funds more books,  Even though I am published by an actual publisher, I pay the initial start up costs to get the book from my computer to (hopefully your hands). These costs are not insubstantial—$100 an hour for an editor (which I finally broke down and paid for this book) even more an hour for a graphic artist to clean up the images and put the book into its final size, fees for getting the book an ISBN number, and the physical printing of the book (all told around $4,000) For this initial payment I get a substantially higher % of the royalties, but since I use that to pay my PR Manager $250 an hour to promote the book it’s fair to say that writing books is not a money machine. Oh and advertising, $50 bucks a month for Vertical Response to send out email blasts that less than 10% of you even open, $100 bucks a month for Shutterstock—absolutely overpriced in my opinion, and sundry books sent to book club organizers, libraries, and thieves who promise to either give their leadership of their book club with promises of hundreds of purchases likely to follow, or to people like the leadership of ASSP who read both my books which I sent to them free of charge and hated the tone and lack of scholarly form so much that they didn’t even bother to return the books. Oh and postage is an absolute bitch.  So buy my books or don’t buy my books, but don’t think I’m getting rich off them.  They are selling well, but I need to sell a lot more to stay ahead of the money pit.

WARNING: What follows may just teach you something but you won’t get any CEUs for it, you’ll just be better educated and informed but seriously who wants or needs that?

Some time ago, I read an article in the Metro Times (a Detroit Weekly) about a Facebook group essentially dedicated to encouraging attacks on women, Democrats, Muslims, and LGBTQ persons.  There were hundreds of specific threats of violence.  You don’t have to buy my book, but I wish you would.  But if you want to help follow this link.  Search LinkedIn to find out where these people work and encourage their employers to fire them. This isn’t a political statement, I would react the same way if people were saying that White Heterosexual Christian Men were the targets.  Purveyors of hate need to feel real-world consequences.  All it takes for evil to triumph is for good to do nothing.

Violent acts begin with violent thoughts that turn into violent posts on social media. How long are you going to continue to throw your hands up and say, “what can I do?” My second book, Lone Gunman: Rewriting the Handbook On Workplace Violence Prevention. answers this question. This is all new material that cannot be found anywhere else. In light of all the talk and panic around gun violence, and the shamefully bad advice some “experts” are giving I hope some of you will read it and pass it along to your executives and HR leads (go ahead, expense it, they will be glad you did.)

Before you dismiss this as yet another shameless plug for my book I want you to ask yourself these questions:

  • What if anything is my employer doing to reduce its risk of a workplace attack?
  • Do the people who are doing the hiring at my workplace know the warning signs of a workplace attack?
  • What can I do to prevent workplace violence?

If you don’t have the answer to any of these questions, use your Amazon gift card to buy the book. It can be purchased in hardcover or paperback at Amazon or Barnes & Noble 

I should warn you, this isn’t a book that is pro- or anti-gun ownership rights. The book has extensive sections on spotting an unstable employee (some people’s lives will take a dark and desperate turn long after you have hired them but there are always signs), the types of work environments that tend to trigger these events, and I recently returned from Dublin, Ireland where I spoke on how companies can leverage technology to protect workers from workplace violence.  But all the books, and magazines, and speeches in the world won’t change a damned thing if you keep thinking that it can’t (or probably won’t) happen to you or someone you love. You can bet your life that we will see more similar shootings in the weeks or months as people who are currently at the brink of sanity see the news reports and think, “now’s the time”. WAKE UP, PEOPLE!!!! This book is peppered with the sarcasm, self-deprecating humor of the first book, but it also makes use of my extensive knowledge of violence prevention in the workforce (that I gained as head of training and OD for a global manufacturer.) You should buy it. 

Why Am I Such A Jerk?

By Phil La Duke
Author
I Know My Shoes Are Untied Mind Your Own Business and Lone Gunman Rewriting the Handbook On Workplace Violence

I learned to say, right up front, what I knew they were thinking.  I didn’t sugarcoat things, and I would tell them straight out if what I was about to say was stone bullshit.  learners.

It’s been awhile since I really blogged. Sure there has been the odd post now and again, but it is just a discipline that I’ve let go lax.  I could whine about how nobody would miss it if I gave it up altogether but that would be disingenuous, if not an outright lie.  I could rightfully say that my time has been absorbed by the  tweaking the finishing touches on my new book—should be out in a week or so—but even that claim really doesn’t cut it, nor does the articles I’ve written for Authority or Thrive Global magazines.  The plain truth of it is that I have been lazy, and to a lesser extent uninspired.

I was bitching to my wife (a Health Educator) about all the misinformation on COVID-19 and people fighting about whether or not to wear a mask.  I am done with COVID. I got tested to see if by any long-shot bet I might already have had the disease—even though I seldom get sick and had no real reason to think I might have had it. It was negative so while I might be an unbalanced maniac, physically speaking I am as healthy as an aging overweight horse. As we were talking we somehow got onto the subject of Adult Education theory (which is the subject in which I earned a degree.)  

It was during that conversation that I realized why I am the irascible pustule of worker safety. Why I proke, and prod, and am downright mean to folks.  I admit it wasn’t a mindbender of an epiphany, but it was an epiphany none-the-less.

Early in my career I was head of Training and Organizational Development (OD) for a tier-1 global automotive supplier.  Part of my job was to develop courses and teach them to an audience ranging from luddite engineers, to hard-scrabble hands on journeymen most of whom did advance their education further than high school, but were geniuses—they could take a partially shaped idea and turn it into reality.  Neither group much cared for the idea of sitting through training, nor for me either for that matter.

But I had a job to do and this wasn’t my first time going 10 rounds in the ring with a group of people who resented, even despised authority.  I knew how factory workers, and machine tool makers, and engineers, and designers felt about me.  In short, none of them believed that I could teach them anything.  They all came in thinking training would be dull, developed for dullards and mouthbreathers, and delivered by some college puke bag in a condescending tone.

I learned to say, right up front, what I knew they were thinking.  I didn’t sugarcoat things, and I would tell them straight out if what I was about to say was stone bullshit.  They never saw anything like me, and I was able to quickly win even the toughest sonsabitches over (well most of them.)  I would delight in saying, “I will say things with a straight face and with such strong conviction that you will believe me even though I am making it up.  I can do this with impunity because you are all too lazy to look it up!” One day one of the toughest nuts to crack came into class and said, “you really know your shit! I looked up a couple of things you said and you were absolutely correct.” I gained instant credibility with the group. But more than that I broke the “third wall” of training. I had people who HATED training looking up concepts and researching things I had said—they became truly self-directed learners.

When I was dragged kicking and screaming into the miasma that is the Safety function I found those skills not only transferable but incredibly useful. I was met with the same preconceptions of safety personnel that I met when I was a trainer.  I also understood that the areas in which I worked in safety were a mixed population of college educated know-it-alls and people who selected their jobs specifically because they hated authority and hated being treated like a paste-eating dumbass by “the Safety Guy”.  Some of my toughest critics have been the people who actually work in the Safety function.  I tend to be seen as a threat.  Remember, as a global consultant I tend to get employed by either companies that are so off the rails that they can’t find their way back and desperately need help, or forward thinking C-suite executives who want to move the needle using a systematic and scientific approach to take worker Safety to the next level (typically people who have grown impatient with the Behaviour-Based Snakeoil and want something that they can measure.

And while I have met many hardworking and talented safety professionals, I have also met a lot of Safety practitioners that I honestly wondered exactly how many chromosomes they were missing. The truth is that when someone brings in a hired gun to do the job for which you collect a regular paycheck anyone with half a brain will genuinely (and wisely) fear for their livelihood.

But what I brought with me from training and OD served me well, most notably:

  • You have to establish your authority before you can speak on a topic.  Children will just take it for granted (well most children, I never did) that if you are standing at the front of the room at a podium you have the absolute authority to teach.  Adults don’t buy that.  Adults have seen too many con artists who have no business teaching a class, and have less depth of knowledge on the subject that a closed head injured baboon. If you don’t believe that the person knows what he or she is talking about literally in the first five minutes you will tune the person out and dismiss everything he or she says as absolute nonsense.
  • Adults want to tell THEIR stories. I use a lot of war stories (and humor for that matter) to prove a point, but I almost always ask people if they have a similar story to share. Most people don’t want to talk in front of a group, but even if they don’t SHARE a story with the group they bring that story to mind and “tell it to themselves”.
  • Telling people facts is far less powerful than guiding people to discovering the facts themselves.  There is nothing so invigorating as to ask a worker, “what do you see that is not quite right?” and watching as the mental wheels turn and the worker learns to evaluate a situation and truly assess risks instead of following a checklist of things they have been told to look for.  When the learning comes from within, it is retained longer and can be adapted to other situations.
  • We learn emotionally.  Brain research in the last decade has really unearthed invaluable information about how people make decisions, form opinions, and learn.  The use of EKGs and similar technology allow researchers to actually see which part of the brain is used for various purposes, and guess what? even the most logical person makes his or her decisions using the emotional part of his or her brain. When we think we are researching data with which we will use to make a decision, or form an opinion we are actually just looking for facts that support our positions that we formed emotionally and subconsciously.
    Because we learn emotionally we also have to UNLEARN emotionally.  That is why I deliberately provoke people into a highly agitated emotional state, and it’s also why I use humor (and why I don’t care about typos—those of you who have said you could never take my message seriously because of grammatical errors or typos or even the odd cuss word are simply trying to produce facts to support your emotional response to a position you don’t like. Deal with it.
    Humor is a double-edged sword. Some people love it and some hate it. But either way, I have reached them on an emotional level and in most cases I have by-passed their defenses and the message will gnaw at them like a cornered rat.

While these techniques are extremely effective, they can be dangerous.  Over the years I have had people blast me on my evaluations, say I was the greatest speaker they had ever heard, say I was the worst speaker they had ever heard. I’ve been threatened with violence and even had to call the police when a woman threatened to bomb my house. Odd behavior for people who self-righteously claim to save lives, but the more violent the reaction the deeper the message was received.

I’m not unlike most of you. Given my druthers I would rather be liked than hated, but beyond that I would rather my message get through to those who need it.

Stay safe and stay healthy.

About My New Book
In a couple of weeks my latest book, Blood In My Pockets Is Blood On Your Hands will be available for purchase.  Why should you buy it? Well for starters I have been providing blog posts, articles, advice, and speeches on safety for free since 2006.  That’s my choice, but it consumes time and resources I could be using to have a lot more fun.  But beyond that, some of you seem to think I am a millionaire because I have three books published; I am not. I am the quintessential fool and his money, which doesn’t help.  All of my book revenue funds more books,  Even though I am published by an actual publisher, I pay the initial start up costs to get the book from my computer to (hopefully your hands). These costs are not insubstantial—$100 an hour for an editor (which I finally broke down and paid for this book) even more an hour for a graphic artist to clean up the images and put the book into its final size, fees for getting the book an ISBN number, and the physical printing of the book (all told around $4,000) For this initial payment I get a substantially higher % of the royalties, but since I use that to pay my PR Manager $250 an hour to promote the book it’s fair to say that writing books is not a money machine. Oh and advertising, $50 bucks a month for Vertical Response to send out email blasts that less than 10% of you even open, $100 bucks a month for Shutterstock—absolutely overpriced in my opinion, and sundry books sent to book club organizers, libraries, and thieves who promise to either give their leadership of their book club with promises of hundreds of purchases likely to follow, or to people like the leadership of ASSP who read both my books which I sent to them free of charge and hated the tone and lack of scholarly form so much that they didn’t even bother to return the books. Oh and postage is an absolute bitch.  So buy my books or don’t buy my books, but don’t think I’m getting rich off them.  They are selling well, but I need to sell a lot more to stay ahead of the money pit.

WARNING: What follows may just teach you something but you won’t get any CEUs for it, you’ll just be better educated and informed but seriously who wants or needs that?

Some time ago, I read an article in the Metro Times (a Detroit Weekly) about a Facebook group essentially dedicated to encouraging attacks on women, Democrats, Muslims, and LGBTQ persons.  There were hundreds of specific threats of violence.  You don’t have to buy my book, but I wish you would.  But if you want to help follow this link.  Search LinkedIn to find out where these people work and encourage their employers to fire them. This isn’t a political statement, I would react the same way if people were saying that White Heterosexual Christian Men were the targets.  Purveyors of hate need to feel real-world consequences.  All it takes for evil to triumph is for good to do nothing.

Violent acts begin with violent thoughts that turn into violent posts on social media. How long are you going to continue to throw your hands up and say, “what can I do?” My second book, Lone Gunman: Rewriting the Handbook On Workplace Violence Prevention. answers this question. This is all new material that cannot be found anywhere else. In light of all the talk and panic around gun violence, and the shamefully bad advice some “experts” are giving I hope some of you will read it and pass it along to your executives and HR leads (go ahead, expense it, they will be glad you did.)

Before you dismiss this as yet another shameless plug for my book I want you to ask yourself these questions:

What if anything is my employer doing to reduce its risk of a workplace attack?

Do the people who are doing the hiring at my workplace know the warning signs of a workplace attack?

What can I do to prevent workplace violence?

If you don’t have the answer to any of these questions, use your Amazon gift card to buy the book. It can be purchased in hardcover or paperback at Amazon or Barnes & Noble 

I should warn you, this isn’t a book that is pro- or anti-gun ownership rights. The book has extensive sections on spotting an unstable employee (some people’s lives will take a dark and desperate turn long after you have hired them but there are always signs), the types of work environments that tend to trigger these events, and I recently returned from Dublin, Ireland where I spoke on how companies can leverage technology to protect workers from workplace violence.  But all the books, and magazines, and speeches in the world won’t change a damned thing if you keep thinking that it can’t (or probably won’t) happen to you or someone you love. You can bet your life that we will see more similar shootings in the weeks or months as people who are currently at the brink of sanity see the news reports and think, “now’s the time”. WAKE UP, PEOPLE!!!! This book is peppered with the sarcasm, self-deprecating humor of the first book, but it also makes use of my extensive knowledge of violence prevention in the workforce (that I gained as head of training and OD for a global manufacturer.) You should buy it. Seriously I’m not telling you how to live your life but you should buy it. Okay, I AM telling you how to live your life, just buy the damned book.

Of course, my first book is still for sale, and is ALSO available in the eBook format you might rightly ask yourself, why on God’s green Earth would I read a book that contains previously released material? Simple, like the rain-forest and the polar bears my work is disappearing from the web very quickly.  All but a handful of my works for Facility Management Magazine are gone, and you can basically only go back two years on my blog (eight year’s worth of my work that ranges in quality from magnificent to mindless dreck.) And besides, about a third of the book is newly written material that cannot be found anywhere else. So buy it. People who have read it say that it belongs in everyone who works in safety’s library. It will teach you, entertain you, and make you want to read more it can be ordered here I Know My Shoes Are Untied. Mind Your Own Business or on Barnes & Noble.com.

As always, Read. Learn. Live. Share. Inspire

This Is Not A Political Post

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By Phil La Duke
Author
I Know My Shoes Are Untied Mind Your Own Business and
Lone Gunman Rewriting the Handbook On Workplace Violence

My home state of Michigan has been in the international news lately. People are tired of being locked down in their homes and being unemployed.  Frankly, I question that second part of that statement. My suspicion is that people would be gleefully unemployed if they could return to the ass grove they’ve spent shaping on the neighborhood bar stool or spend four hours sitting in a restaurant cradling a bad cup of coffee ogling a waitress who is way out of their leagues but who puts up with their lewd innuendos enough for them to think they just might have a shot.

For those of us in the Safety Field, the yowling of the barely literate Constitutional scholars turned epidemiologists that are so desperate for a haircut that they show up at the State Capital with long guns and menace elected officials and block hospital entrances while waving Nazi and Confederate flags sound awfully familiar.

“They can’t make me wear PPE!” “I have a right to…” and “I’m not gonna do it” are all things that the belligerent blowhards on the frontlines of our workplaces have said to us at least once, and probably dozens of times. And just as the State Police did nothing—not so much as check the long-gun toting “protestors” open carry or concealed weapon permits—so to do the managers of the Safety belligerents they have the power and authority to intervene but too often they don’t want to “make a big deal out of things.”

An ex-colleague of mine once said in frustration (after a long day working with a client that just couldn’t wrap his mind around what we were trying to accomplish in safety) “safety boils down to risk tolerance and decision rights” and that is exactly what both these situations hold in common.

Let’s start with some level setting:

Risk tolerance is the amount of peril you are personally willing to endure in pursuit of a reward.  Some people may refer to risk tolerance as a risk-to-reward ratio but let’s just keep it simple. We all have a risk tolerance and it is highly dependant on circumstance, situation, and experience.  We typically make decisions without giving a lot of concentration figuring out whether it’s worth the risk, in fact, most of our risk tolerance is subconscious—we do things that carry risk in the commission of the act—like the fetid pustule who blew a stop sign while texting while I was on my morning dog walk.  We have individual risk tolerances, organizational risk tolerances, and community risk tolerances at all levels of government.  Our risk tolerances are typically codified into laws, safety regulations, or corporate policies.

Decision Rights, on the other hand, are the circumstances under which we are entitled to act outside of the rule (for our purposes I will use the term “rule” to refer to any rule, law, norm, regulation, ordinance, or limits.)

No process, no policy, no past practice can cover every contingency that may arise in the completion of a task.  It is inconceivable that a worker would ask permission every time a job requires a decision so we give workers (usually informally) the right to use their own judgment to solve a problem.  Unfortunately, unless we establish limits as to the extent to which the worker can improvise, we essentially give the worker carte blanc, and that can be deadly. 

Decision Rights can be tough to define and articulate.  Does the worker have the right to use a ratchet instead of a standard wrench? Probably. Does the worker have the right not to wear a harness when working at heights because he’s only going to be up there for a minute? Absolutely not. So where is the line? In the case of safety, the only acceptable decision rights any worker has are: to violate a safety rule when following it would create a greater danger.

For example, driving when the traffic flow is 15–20 kph over the speed limit.  You can obstinately refuse to exceed the speed limit and increase the risk of injury to yourself or others or you can keep up with the flow of traffic.  Depending on where you live you may or may not have this decision right, but the opposite is certainly true—if the road conditions prevent you from safely operating your vehicle you are, in most jurisdictions, required to slow your rate of speed even if it falls below the minimum speed required by law. 

It is precisely because the limits of one’s power to deviate from the standard are so frequently vague or not identified at all that gets us into trouble.  I have heard so many people say, “they can’t tell me that I can’t…” in the workplace that it drives me to distraction.  YES, THEY CAN. Unless you have a contract (either as an individual or under collective bargaining) you have a choice comply or say goodbye.  It’s that simple.  You have no legal recourse unless your employer has violated the law. So yes, in most cases they can force you to work overtime—to a point, you can refuse and be fired, or you can quit, but save for the threat of loss of employment again as no laws are broken they can force you to work overtime.

And yes, both your government and your employer can limit your liberties, where need be, to protect others.  When your actions violate a safety policy and rise to the level of recklessness you can and likely will be fired.  Why because you are so beloved by your employer that they want desperately to keep you alive? No, because your depraved indifference constitutes a threat to others.  But you aren’t even allowed to endanger your OWN life in may places. Seat belt laws are in place primarily to save your life. Motorcycle helmet laws, limits on fireworks, using street drugs are all there for YOUR protection. These laws exist to protect people too stupid to take reasonable care to protect themselves. Personally, I see an upside to fewer stupid, reckless people but there are people out there who care more about the survival of these sub simian imbeciles than I do. 

The question before us are these: Do we know and communicate the reason why one needs to exercise caution when completing a task (build a case for decreased risk tolerance) and do we discipline those appropriately for wantonly disregarding their own or others’ safety? Because if we can’t answer these questions we have already given up.

Stay safe and stay healthy

WARNING: What follows may just teach you something but you won’t get any CEUs for it, you’ll just be better educated and informed but seriously who wants or needs that?

Some time ago, I read an article in the Metro Times (a Detroit Weekly) about a Facebook group essentially dedicated to encouraging attacks on women, Democrats, Muslims, and LGBTQ persons.  There were hundreds of specific threats of violence.  You don’t have to buy my book, but I wish you would.  But if you want to help follow this link.  Search LinkedIn to find out where these people work and encourage their employers to fire them. This isn’t a political statement, I would react the same way if people were saying that White Heterosexual Christian Men were the targets.  Purveyors of hate need to feel real-world consequences.  All it takes for evil to triumph is for good to do nothing.

Violent acts begin with violent thoughts that turn into violent posts on social media. How long are you going to continue to throw your hands up and say, “what can I do?” My second book, Lone Gunman: Rewriting the Handbook On Workplace Violence Prevention. answers this question. This is all new material that cannot be found anywhere else. In light of all the talk and panic around gun violence, and the shamefully bad advice some “experts” are giving I hope some of you will read it and pass it along to your executives and HR leads (go ahead, expense it, they will be glad you did.)

Before you dismiss this as yet another shameless plug for my book I want you to ask yourself these questions:

  • What if anything is my employer doing to reduce its risk of a workplace attack?
  • Do the people who are doing the hiring at my workplace know the warning signs of a workplace attack?
  • What can I do to prevent workplace violence?

If you don’t have the answer to any of these questions, use your Amazon gift card to buy the book. It can be purchased in hardcover or paperback at Amazon or Barnes & Noble 

I should warn you, this isn’t a book that is pro- or anti-gun ownership rights. The book has extensive sections on spotting an unstable employee (some people’s lives will take a dark and desperate turn long after you have hired them but there are always signs), the types of work environments that tend to trigger these events, and I recently returned from Dublin, Ireland where I spoke on how companies can leverage technology to protect workers from workplace violence.  But all the books, and magazines, and speeches in the world won’t change a damned thing if you keep thinking that it can’t (or probably won’t) happen to you or someone you love. You can bet your life that we will see more similar shootings in the weeks or months as people who are currently at the brink of sanity see the news reports and think, “now’s the time”. WAKE UP, PEOPLE!!!! This book is peppered with the sarcasm, self-deprecating humor of the first book, but it also makes use of my extensive knowledge of violence prevention in the workforce (that I gained as head of training and OD for a global manufacturer.) You should buy it. Seriously I’m not telling you how to live your life but you should buy it. Okay, I AM telling you how to live your life, just buy the damned book.

Of course, my first book is still for sale, and is ALSO available in the eBook format you might rightly ask yourself, why on God’s green Earth would I read a book that contains previously released material? Simple, like the rain-forest and the polar bears my work is disappearing from the web very quickly.  All but a handful of my works for Facility Management Magazine are gone, and you can basically only go back two years on my blog (eight year’s worth of my work that ranges in quality from magnificent to mindless dreck.) And besides, about a third of the book is newly written material that cannot be found anywhere else. So buy it. People who have read it say that it belongs in everyone who works in safety’s library. It will teach you, entertain you, and make you want to read more it can be ordered here I Know My Shoes Are Untied. Mind Your Own Business or on Barnes & Noble.com.

As always, Read. Learn. Live. Share. Inspire

 

What I Learned From Shelter In Place

 

shutterstock_1227767950

By Phil La Duke
Author
I Know My Shoes Are Untied Mind Your Own Business and
Lone Gunman Rewriting the Handbook On Workplace Violence

I am writing this with the full understanding that relatively few of me really care what I think, and that’s OK.  I don’t take advertising for this blog and derive next to no income from my books so whether or not your care what I have to say doesn’t really matter. Most of you would rather read something that upsets you so you can run your blubbering lips about what a horrible person I am.  So anyway, after six weeks of lockdown, 23 hours and 40 minutes a day in my house with a trip for groceries every 10 days or so. I am on furlough for a “maximum’ of 90 days starting almost a month ago.  If the word “maximum” was put into my letter to reassure me it failed.  To me, it’s sanitized message was clear: if after 90 days business hasn’t improved I will be out of a job. I’m eligible for unemployment payments and Federal Relief but haven’t seen a payment despite the contention by the Department of Labor’s website that I have been paid. 

When you’re in my situation there isn’t much to do but think.  My writing assignments (which are unpaid but gave me something to occupy my mind) have dried up and my latest book is at the editor and I haven’t yet started my next book. I fear I am slowly losing my mind.  Yesterday I barked questions at a television commercial and found myself irritated that it wasn’t answering and this morning while making my breakfast omelet I told a piece of sausage that had rolled off the cutting board to “grow up”. Then I went to a grocery store which was like a circus of dysfunction that filled me with a murderous rage.

As I sat in my easy chair things started to come in to focus and a saw for the first time some ugly truths about my fellow humans:

 

  • People are whiny, selfish cowards. I saw a meme recently that read something to the effect that Ann Frank was cooped up with seven other people in a cramped attic for over two years and people here are complaining that they can’t get a hair cut after less than six weeks. I don’t have any symptoms of COVID-19 and neither does my wife and yet we observe the rules of social distancing. My wife, an exseamstress who sewed hot air balloons for a living before returning to school to pursue her master’s degree,  has turned her talents toward making masks (although we both know that the whole idea is to keep rude bastards from sneezing on others and offers NO protection against the disease) because the demand is so great. She makes dozens of them for panicked family and friends and charges nothing. THESE MASKS ARE WELL CONSTRUCTED BUT USELESS, but she makes them, to shut up the frightened people around her.
    People hoard toilet paper and masks and medicines—not because they are needed or scarce, but just because they MIGHT become scarce.  People are ready to fistfight over the last bottle of hand sanitizer. When all this is over I hope these people are as disgusted with their behavior as I am.
  • People Value Celebrity Over Ethics.  I wondered for a long time how so many people can still support Trump—If you do I don’t want to hear from you, you won’t be changing my mind, but you will be picking a fight—when so many negative things have come to light about him.  I used to think these people were just bigots and idiots, but then I came to realize this isn’t about his competence, it’s about his celebrity.  You can call him a failed game show host all you like but the reality is some version of The Apprentice ran from 2003 to 2013 and drew audiences of tens of millions of viewers.  I have to believe a larg1e portion of those people watched because they liked watching Trump. He doesn’t have political supporters he has fans.  I am a big fan of The Beatles and when one music critic described John Lennon as a wife-beater it pissed me off, then I cooled off and decided I didn’t care. I DIDN’T CARE? That’s insane.  I somehow compartmentalized my brain so that John Lennon, the domestic abuser wasn’t the same John Lennon who wrote Strawberry Fields.  It makes no sense, but somehow I was able to come to peace with it by ignoring it.  I’m not sure what any of the Fab Four could do to make me abandon my love of The Beatles, and the only smart thing a guy I knew from high school ever said was, “you can’t argue with opinions”.
  • Business Owners Will Always Choose Profit Over People.  I work in consulting and when you work in consulting you are only as good as the money you bring in, so on some level, this wasn’t any great revelation. I also have worked in safety for over 20 years and have seen companies with less a moral compass than Josef Mengele so I was shocked that I could see anything that would shock me.  Yet small businesses—so heralded as a godsend to workers everywhere—were awfully quick to throw their workers under the bus and then use that as an excuse for begging for money from Big Government that they were denouncing 6 months ago.  So many people would trade every person in the state of New York, for a rebound in the stock market that it makes me deeply sad.
  • People Are Children. Even before Trump screamed “FAKE NEWS” every time someone said something he didn’t like, people were believing whatever they like.  You can try to blame Zuckerberg’s famous pig, but before that, it was message boards, and before that it was tabloids, and before that it was gossip.  We are terrified sheep who comfort ourselves by turning to a news source that tells us what we want to believe, and we really want to believe some stupid shit. We have no one to blame but ourselves and that pisses us off so we find someone to blame (personally I blame the Albinos). No one asks for a source anymore, and even fewer check to ensure the source exists and is credible. If we can’t shout down reality and become a fill-in-the-blank denier we just attribute it to some vast conspiracy.
  • Blame Makes The World Go Around. “We need to put God back in the government” “the damned ‘libtards”/wackadoodle conservatives” are ruining this country”.  What about looking inward and asking, “what am I doing to make this situation better?” (at least I wrote 397 (give or take) articles for Authority Magazine whose charter is something like stories that inspire and bring joy into the world.  It’s not much, but every little bit helps, and I gave it to you for free. You’re welcome, you ingrates. Not everything is part of a vast conspiracy to take your gun or to turn the word atheist or to drill oil in your drinking water. Stop being a victim and start making the world a better place.
  • Social Networking Is Neither.  I knew for a long time that people feel perfectly comfortable saying things to people on like that they wouldn’t dare say to another person’s face. So (and it wasn’t my idea) I going out for a beer with friends who were locked up too.  It was wonderful, the conversation was pleasant, the drinks were cheaper and no one had to worry about drunk driving.  There has been a lot of ugliness and vitriol on Facebook in particular. Tune out. Turn off. And have a phone conversation or a virtual beer with people.

 

So I guess when it comes to it, I guess I didn’t learn very much that I didn’t already know, but I did gain a deeper understanding not of who we are as people, but why we do what we do as people. (Although I did, apparently, learn that my breakfast sausage can be pretty damned immature.)

And I was pleasantly surprised by the exceptions that prove the rules.  Several of my LinkedIn friends reached out to me, some of whom I have never met and with whom I haven’t spoken.  It was great.  The conversations were long and deep and meant a great deal to me.  In one we talked about community. How we have lost that sense of caring for our neighbors just because they are our neighbors and that’s the right thing to do when you live in our communities. So I guess I learned one thing: there might just be hope for us after all.

Stay safe and stay healthy

p.s. would it kill you to buy a book? Seriously, my books are half the price of the cheapest safety books out there.  You just read this for free and I got NO MONEY coming in, at least a couple of book sales would cheer me up.

WARNING: What follows may just teach you something but you won’t get any CEUs for it, you’ll just be better educated and informed but seriously who wants or needs that?

Some time ago, I read an article in the Metro Times (a Detroit Weekly) about a Facebook group essentially dedicated to encouraging attacks on women, Democrats, Muslims, and LGBTQ persons.  There were hundreds of specific threats of violence.  You don’t have to buy my book, but I wish you would.  But if you want to help follow this link.  Search LinkedIn to find out where these people work and encourage their employers to fire them. This isn’t a political statement, I would react the same way if people were saying that White Heterosexual Christian Men were the targets.  Purveyors of hate need to feel real-world consequences.  All it takes for evil to triumph is for good to do nothing.

Violent acts begin with violent thoughts that turn into violent posts on social media. How long are you going to continue to throw your hands up and say, “what can I do?” My second book, Lone Gunman: Rewriting the Handbook On Workplace Violence Prevention. answers this question. This is all new material that cannot be found anywhere else. In light of all the talk and panic around gun violence, and the shamefully bad advice some “experts” are giving I hope some of you will read it and pass it along to your executives and HR leads (go ahead, expense it, they will be glad you did.)

Before you dismiss this as yet another shameless plug for my book I want you to ask yourself these questions:

  • What if anything is my employer doing to reduce its risk of a workplace attack?
  • Do the people who are doing the hiring at my workplace know the warning signs of a workplace attack?
  • What can I do to prevent workplace violence?

If you don’t have the answer to any of these questions, use your Amazon gift card to buy the book. It can be purchased in hardcover or paperback at Amazon or Barnes & Noble 

I should warn you, this isn’t a book that is pro- or anti-gun ownership rights. The book has extensive sections on spotting an unstable employee (some people’s lives will take a dark and desperate turn long after you have hired them but there are always signs), the types of work environments that tend to trigger these events, and I recently returned from Dublin, Ireland where I spoke on how companies can leverage technology to protect workers from workplace violence.  But all the books, and magazines, and speeches in the world won’t change a damned thing if you keep thinking that it can’t (or probably won’t) happen to you or someone you love. You can bet your life that we will see more similar shootings in the weeks or months as people who are currently at the brink of sanity see the news reports and think, “now’s the time”. WAKE UP, PEOPLE!!!! This book is peppered with the sarcasm, self-deprecating humor of the first book, but it also makes use of my extensive knowledge of violence prevention in the workforce (that I gained as head of training and OD for a global manufacturer.) You should buy it. Seriously I’m not telling you how to live your life but you should buy it. Okay, I AM telling you how to live your life, just buy the damned book.

Of course, my first book is still for sale, and is ALSO available in the eBook format you might rightly ask yourself, why on God’s green Earth would I read a book that contains previously released material? Simple, like the rain-forest and the polar bears my work is disappearing from the web very quickly.  All but a handful of my works for Facility Management Magazine are gone, and you can basically only go back two years on my blog (eight year’s worth of my work that ranges in quality from magnificent to mindless dreck.) And besides, about a third of the book is newly written material that cannot be found anywhere else. So buy it. People who have read it say that it belongs in the library of everyone who works in safety. It will teach you, entertain you, and make you want to read more it can be ordered here I Know My Shoes Are Untied. Mind Your Own Business or on Barnes & Noble.com.

#covid-19, #i-know-my-shoes-are-untied-mind-your-own-business, #lessons-from-the-pandemic, #lone-gunman-rewriting-the-handbook-on-workplace-violence-prevention, #were-sick-alright

Things Can’t Go Back To Normal

shutterstock_1391023127By Phil La Duke
Author
I Know My Shoes Are Untied Mind Your Own Business and
Lone Gunman Rewriting the Handbook On Workplace Violence

Well, it’s week three of my 90-day unpaid furlough and who knew that “unpaid” would be taken so literally? I filed for unemployment and my claim went through without a problem, it is even listed on the Michigan Department of Labor’s website as paid, not once but twice! That’s good news, except that I haven’t received any money.  There is no getting through to the people who could give me answers and that—coupled with the fact that I live a scant five miles from a hospital that is still treating COVID-19 patients but has no more room in the morgue and (I wish I was making this up) are stacking corpses like cords of wood on shelves, or propped up in chairs, and another two weeks locked up in my house is driving me batshit crazy.

One night in the middle of watching television, I went upstairs and shaved my head.  Clearly not the act of a rational man, but it seemed to make sense at the time.

I did a lot of writing. I finished book three: Blood In My Pockets Is Blood on Your Hands and that is now being edited I wrote four articles for Authority magazine, one for HSME (which is worth reading if it sees print), one or two articles for Thrive Global and have yet to write an article for the OS&H on the changes likely to the occupational health and safety profession. I’m also resuming work on my fourth book, Loving an Addict: Collateral Damage In the Opioid Epidemic.

A lot of people seem to think I am rolling in money, but you don’t get rich writing books—you make other people rich. And the net sum total of my income from blogging, and authoring articles is zero (less expenses) so one cannot really make that up in volume. I chose to write to share my view of the world with those who are interested.  I quit my job as a newspaper reporter years ago because it didn’t pay a living wage, so I had no delusions about making a fortune selling my writing.

What has this to do with anything? Nothing…and everything.  In the course of writing  “Pockets”, I was exploring incident investigation and emphasizing the power of context.  So I just wanted to provide you with some context for what I am about to write.

I have been asked to write about the “new normal” by a variety of publications, to whit, what will the world look like after the COVID-19 mania subsides; what lessons will we learn.  I am no prognosticator, but I will share this with you: things will never be normal again and frankly nor should they be.  Normal was never that great.

Safety has sloughed along at a snail’s pace Sure we can pat ourselves on our collective back and talk about all the wonderful things we’ve done. We can extoll all the wonderful progress we’ve made and talk discuss all the wonderful theories from all those great thought leaders, but in the end, I think we all know it’s bullshit. People still operate under extreme risk and we’ve added a shit ton (sorry I don’t know the metric conversion) of bureaucracy or as one colleague calls it “administrivia”, and yes people still die in the workplace.  We can lie with statistics. We can make the simple complex. Ultimately though, we aren’t very good at taking the theoretical and making it practical.  I would call safety a laughing stock, but nobody’s laughing.

I look at yesterday’s normal and I wonder just what Safety as an organizational function is. Safety isn’t a science. Science requires hypotheses which are scrutinized by peers tested and proven or disproven through experimentation. Safety isn’t an art, where some innovative visionary creates something intrinsically beautiful that grabs the onlooker at a visceral level and elicits some deep reaction. So what is safety? A swindle? In many cases yes. A burden? In the minds of many business leaders, it most certainly is. A necessary evil? I wouldn’t call it an “evil”, not even the colloquial sense…it’s more like a necessary banality.

I’ve taken guff for referring to Safety as a profession.  On one hand, I want to push back, because in my mind “profession” could be anything that pays the rent. But on the other hand, it’s tough to defend a group of people who act so unprofessionally, so I have just taken to calling the people who work in safety “safety guys” or “safety personnel”

So going back to normals doesn’t work for me.  We have a great opportunity to make Safety MEAN something.  And please don’t preach to me about a nomenclature. Dog crap on my shoes smells the same even if I call it “nature’s bounty” or “all-natural fertilizer”.

I don’t know what the future holds, but it has to be better than this dystopian present, we have to come together and agree on some basic truths of safety while divesting ourselves of the snake-oil that spews non-stop from people more interested in selling their souls than in improving our chosen trade.

 

Stay safe and stay healthy

 

WARNING: What follows may just teach you something but you won’t get any CEUs for it, you’ll just be better educated and informed but seriously who wants or needs that?

 

Some time ago, I read an article in the Metro Times (a Detroit Weekly) about a Facebook group essentially dedicated to encouraging attacks on women, Democrats, Muslims, and LGBTQ persons.  There were hundreds of specific threats of violence.  You don’t have to buy my book, but I wish you would.  But if you want to help follow this link.  Search LinkedIn to find out where these people work and encourage their employers to fire them. This isn’t a political statement, I would react the same way if people were saying that White Heterosexual Christian Men were the targets.  Purveyors of hate need to feel real-world consequences.  All it takes for evil to triumph is for good to do nothing.

 

Violent acts begin with violent thoughts that turn into violent posts on social media. How long are you going to continue to throw your hands up and say, “what can I do?” My second book, Lone Gunman: Rewriting the Handbook On Workplace Violence Prevention. answers this question. This is all new material that cannot be found anywhere else. In light of all the talk and panic around gun violence, and the shamefully bad advice some “experts” are giving I hope some of you will read it and pass it along to your executives and HR leads (go ahead, expense it, they will be glad you did.)

Before you dismiss this as yet another shameless plug for my book I want you to ask yourself these questions:

  • What if anything is my employer doing to reduce its risk of a workplace attack?
  • Do the people who are doing the hiring at my workplace know the warning signs of a workplace attack?
  • What can I do to prevent workplace violence?

If you don’t have the answer to any of these questions, use your Amazon gift card to buy the book. It can be purchased in hardcover or paperback at Amazon or Barnes & Noble 

I should warn you, this isn’t a book that is pro- or anti-gun ownership rights. The book has extensive sections on spotting an unstable employee (some people’s lives will take a dark and desperate turn long after you have hired them but there are always signs), the types of work environments that tend to trigger these events, and I recently returned from Dublin, Ireland where I spoke on how companies can leverage technology to protect workers from workplace violence.  But all the books, and magazines, and speeches in the world won’t change a damned thing if you keep thinking that it can’t (or probably won’t) happen to you or someone you love. You can bet your life that we will see more similar shootings in the weeks or months as people who are currently at the brink of sanity see the news reports and think, “now’s the time”. WAKE UP, PEOPLE!!!! This book is peppered with the sarcasm, self-deprecating humor of the first book, but it also makes use of my extensive knowledge of violence prevention in the workforce (that I gained as head of training and OD for a global manufacturer.) You should buy it. Seriously I’m not telling you how to live your life but you should buy it. Okay, I AM telling you how to live your life, just buy the damned book.

Of course, my first book is still for sale, and is ALSO available in the eBook format you might rightly ask yourself, why on God’s green Earth would I read a book that contains previously released material? Simple, like the rain-forest and the polar bears my work is disappearing from the web very quickly.  All but a handful of my works for Facility Management Magazine are gone, and you can basically only go back two years on my blog (eight year’s worth of my work that ranges in quality from magnificent to mindless dreck.) And besides, about a third of the book is newly written material that cannot be found anywhere else. So buy it. People who have read it say that it belongs in the library of everyone who works in safety. It will teach you, entertain you, and make you want to read more it can be ordered here I Know My Shoes Are Untied. Mind Your Own Business or on Barnes & Noble.com.