What does it mean to be committed to Safety? Does it mean adherence to the EM-385 and other regs? Well… yes… but saying that out loud makes the statement sound trite or else just way too limiting. Does it mean starting every meeting with Safety announcements? Well… no, quite frankly. That can be a good thing, but if it is just for show it can actually be counter-productive. Safety means much more than adherence or compliance, and certainly more than show. True commitment to Safety is an attitude or mentality with smart, proactive action and training attached. Both attitude and action are required. The right mentality and desire for Safety alone does not produce the kind of results we’re looking for. And quite frankly, robotic actions and resume certifications without any care for others also doesn’t produce what we’re looking for. It takes both, attitude and action. I want you to care because it might be my life or well-being on the line. And I want you to be trained in CPR because if my heart stops beating and you care but have no training, I’m in real trouble. I want RQ’s people to be truly committed to Safety, meaning they care and take action.

This article is an extended thank you to all of you at RQ who have demonstrated such a resounding commitment to Safety. Thank you for being just like our most recent hero, John Paul. Thanks to all of you who are not confined to the EM-385 but go above and beyond it for the sake of Safety (not just compliance). For those of you who have had the courage to stop a job when there is something you’re just not sure about. For those of you willing to respectfully challenge teammates who, like us all, have had moments of putting our minds on cruise control and need a gentle reminder to re-focus. For those of you who can wear the CPR-trained sticker on your hard hat.

As I write this, RQ has 422 employees on the roster. But RQ is a lot bigger than that. I have a wonderful wife and 3 crazy awesome kids.  That puts the 422 up to 426 in my eyes. In fact, if you (appropriately) add in all the spouses, significant others and kids (and grandkids), we’re probably up to a million (based on all the maternity leaves the past few years, not to mention all the Shadle kids). Well, maybe not a million… but a whole lot. Thousands. And then if you factor in the sub crews that show up to our sites every day and add in their families, we really are talking thousands and thousands.

I remember when our beloved Doug Youngdale passed away from pancreatic cancer. Going to his memorial, there were tons of people from the community, all wanting to pay respect to Doug and his family. The community our people touch reaches far beyond even the families represented on our jobs. Imagine a memorial like that for each of the thousands represented on our jobsites. Now we’re talking thousands and thousands and thousands.

We don’t want memorial services. Not one. Not because of pancreatic cancer, and certainly not because we lacked the attitude and action necessary to prevent a preventable safety accident on site or in the office. Life is so precious. And each life is so much bigger than itself.  And not only life, but well-being is actually quite precious too. I broke my little pinky finger in a RQ basketball game 6 months ago, the first time I had played since Doug passed, and that stupid thing is still swollen, stiff and sore every day. Jeepers. Apparently even the health of little pinky fingers is precious and we want to be able to take them for granted without the annoyance I’m reminded of constantly.

Thank you all for staying up-to-date with your EM-385 manuals. Thank you for not making OSHA a four-letter word. Thank you for getting your CPR training cert for more than the sticker you get to put on your hard hat. Thank you for every AHA that has TLC put into it. Thank you for the extra audits not required. Thank you for keeping Safety fresh. Thank you for those crucial conversations that aren’t easy but are absolutely crucial (and potentially life-saving or pinky-saving). I thank you. My family… Kristen, Miles, Owen and Aubrey thank you. Guys like Chad Greene thank you. Thousands and thousands and thousands thank you. RQ thanks you!