“Why is safety so important to you?”

Be intentional, be present and be careful, because your actions can keep both you and your coworkers safe.

The safety messages we stress at Olympic Steel are designed to help keep you safe. Be smart, follow the rules, use the right tools and keep your head in the game. Even when something is simple, be intentional, be present and be careful.

We talk a lot about safety at Olympic Steel. We want everyone focused on safety at all times, because a lapse in focus on safety – for even a second – can have serious, even life-changing consequences. I know this from personal experience.

Several years ago, I did something heedless. I was on vacation and attempting to repair an aluminum dock post. I grabbed the tools and equipment I needed along with a pair of full-length waterproof safety gloves and brought them to the dock. I was prepared. But I had a lapse in focus, and I reached into the murky water barehanded. The edge of the post was sharp as a razor, and I cut my hand badly. I needed stitches, and it put a scare into my son who was with me. I had prepared everything I needed but didn’t stop to think before I acted. Fortunately, I didn’t put anyone else in danger – only myself.

My next story is tough to share. I experienced the consequences of how one person’s poor decision-making impacted the lives of many others.

On a summer night when I was 18 years old, I was driving home from a concert with a friend. We were hit by a drunk driver. The crash killed my friend, who was sitting right next to me, only inches away. The driver ended one life and forever changed the lives of many with a terrible decision he made that night. That accident left a permanent impact on my life and how I think about safety.

These moments stay with me, reminding me why we can never allow ourselves to become distracted and why we must stay focused on safety at all times. I’ll say it again: Even when something seems simple or routine – like fixing a dock post – be intentional, be present and be careful.

Remember, your decisions have consequences and can affect more than just you. Your actions in a moment can change your life, the lives of your loved ones and the lives of others around you along with their families – a true ripple effect. Please be safe!

Do you have a question for Rick? Email it to CompanyCommunications@olysteel.com with the subject line “Ask Rick,” and you may see the answer in an upcoming issue of the Odyssey.

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