Safety Stand-Down

Everyday, on every worksite, whether construction, retail, oilfield, hospitality, mining, restaurants, or any other job; Employees are required to retrieve their marble, marbles are mandatory and working that day is not possible if you have no marble… safety man

Let me explain.

On every job, there is a large bucket suspended one hundred feet in the air, held by chains and supported by a crane,  there is a tall ladder set up for employees to climb to retrieve their marble.  The bucket has a lid with a hole cut in it, large enough for the employees arm and nothing more.  It is not possible to see the marbles inside the bucket.  The marbles get mixed around with a device similar to a lottery ball shuffler.  Inside, their are five different colours of marbles and various quantities:

10,000 Green Marbles – It will be a safe day, you will be fine

5,000 Blue Marbles  –  This is a near miss, you will almost get hurt, but will be fine.

3,000 Yellow Marbles  –  You are going to have a minor injury. Maybe a paper cut, maybe a pulled muscle, this is a “no lost time” injury.

100 Black Marbles  –  You will be hurt pretty badly today, maybe lose a finger, brake a bone, or worse.  This is a “lost time” injury.  You will probably be in a hospital bed for awhile.

10 Red Marbles  –  You’re dead.

The marbles represent statistics. Every industry has different statistics, so above is just a guess at how many marbles you have.   for example, it is far more likely for somebody to get hurt on a construction site, than it is for somebody to get hurt at a retail job.  However, between them all there is one familiarity, their are few deaths, and many good safe days.

You never know what is going to happen when you report to work. Certainly you never wake up in the morning and expect to brake your arm or worse.  but shit does happen, and nobody is immune.

Most industrial companies, and many other industries have adopted safety staff, safety programs, and various safety policies.  Some more strict than others.  some companies genuinely care about their employees and want to keep them safe.  Others need to have safety programs to contract to other companies or to lower their WCB premiums.

Here is the solitary outlook on this: 

You can give your employees steel toed boots, you can give them safety glasses, you can put them in reflective vests,  you can even put cut resistant gloves on their hands,  hell, if you want to you can even wrap them in bubble wrap…

You can teach your employees how to work safe, you can teach them how to intervene and watch out for their co-workers,  you can have them fill out all kinds of safety documents, and if you want you can have them writes lines on a chalkboard that says “I will be safe today”

BUT, at the beginning of the day, each and every person must climb the ladder, reach inside the bucket, and pull out their marble.  you can not predict the unknown.  you never know what hand you will be dealt.  Shit happens.

So does that mean that safety is pointless?

That is a hard question to answer, but I think I am going to go with no.

I would like to think that safety is pointless, but that would require everyone to have a strong sense of common sense – and if you look at the people around you, I am sure you would agree that common sense is something some people simply do not posses.

So yes, Safety is important to a degree but all it can do is mitigate the risks, it can never eliminate them.


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Staff Writer

I started my first blog in 2006.

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