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Manager's Message - July 2017

"The best car safety device is a rear-view mirror with a cop in it."

- Dudley Moore

 Anyone who has driven an automobile for any period of time has had this happen. You glance in the rear-view mirror and see a police car behind you. Be honest – what is the first thing you do? Take your foot off the accelerator! Why? Because, without even looking, we know that we may well be guilty of exceeding the speed limit. Why? Why would we knowingly violate a traffic law? Because we have become accustomed to doing so, and we have gotten away with it. Seeing the police car in our rear-view mirror brings our awareness of past behavior to the front of our minds, and we instinctively do what we know we should have been doing all along. The same is true when we ignore measures designed to keep us safe on the job. We may get away with it for a while, but eventually that type of work habit will catch up to us in ways we may come to regret.

Without looking, see if you can guess who is quoted in the following passage:

"When any one asks me how I can best describe my experiences of nearly forty years at sea I merely say uneventful. Of course, there have been Winter gales and storms and fog and the like, but in all my experience I have never been in an accident of any sort worth speaking about. I have seen but one vessel in distress in all my years at sea, a brig, the crew of which was taken off in a small boat in charge of my third officer. I never saw a wreck and have never been wrecked, nor was I ever in any predicament that threatened to end in disaster of any sort. I will say that I cannot imagine any condition which could cause a ship to founder. I cannot conceive of any vital disaster happening to this vessel. Modern ship-building has gone beyond that."

These words were spoken by EJ Smith, Captain of the Titanic, shortly before it began its fateful and final voyage. Captain Smith wrongly assumed that because he had not experienced any significant problems during his career at sea up to that point in time, he could rely upon that experience to repeat itself going forward. We all know that was not the case for Captain Smith or for the crew and passengers aboard the Titanic. Nor is it true for us when it comes to safety.

As I write this message, STEC employees are approximately one week away from achieving a major milestone in our Safety Program – one million man hours worked without a Lost Time Accident. I want to express my sincere appreciation to each STEC employee for achieving this accomplishment – one that would not have been possible without a great deal of hard work, focus, and attention to safe work practices. My challenge to you is to not let up, but to maintain your focus on working safely.

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