Safety needs leadership

  • 2007-02-28
  • Mike Johnson, Riga
Once again we are reminded of a tragic loss of life on Latvian soil, life that should not have been placed in harm's way by the caretakers of our country. It's all about leadership! Latvia needs to develop a culture of awareness for the importance of protecting the health and safety of its citizens. Even more, each Latvian needs to develop the same awareness and desire to protect one's health and safety.

It's all the same whether we are speaking about fire safety, safety on the roads and highways, pedestrian safety, worker safety, or the safety of our disadvantaged and our children!
Just stop and take a few minutes each day as you are going about your daily lives and pay attention to what is going on around you.

Workers cutting metal, wood and bricks without wearing safety glasses. Bus, tram and trolleybus drivers driving with one hand while talking on a cell phone with the other ...or eating, or adjusting the radio, or talking with the conductor. ...Vehicle drivers talking on their cell phones. Drivers speeding on city streets sometimes several times greater than the speed limits. Electrical wiring practices sometimes no better than in third-world countries.
Safety does not simply happen! Safety is a result of people paying attention to something important each and every minute of every day!

Safety awareness needs to be "built in" to our daily habits.
... May I suggest that Latvia needs to put in place a Risk and Safety Czar. A person with demonstrated leadership and a projected "fatherly" image, a person who will lead the way to develop practices and programs to bring about a paradigm shift in how Latvians feel about safety.

... Right now, take a look around your home and office. See what safety problems may exist. Electrical cords that may be old or may be a trip hazard. Rugs or carpets that may be waiting for a slip and fall. Ice on the sidewalks and hanging ice overhead. ...
... Today, take a look while walking around or while sitting in your car. ... You might be surprised and disturbed at what you see.
Its time to take some serious action. Ask the prime minister to stop stoking the fire on his "tea kettle" politics and spend some time focusing on other basics that Latvians face in their daily life.

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