Archive for Workplace Safety Posts

Lousy Legacy – Too Many Canadians Die on Job

 

“On any given workday in Canada, three people will die from a job-related fatality, life-altering injury or occupational disease.”

 Threads of Life; The Association for Workplace Tragedy Family Support

As far as I’m concerned, one workplace fatality is one too many.

That nearly 20,000 Canadians have died because of their job since 2000 – the year my husband, John, died in the line of duty as the result of a preventable fall at unsafe workplace – is not only atrocious, it is completely unacceptable.

And yet accept it we must. By “we,” I mean the public as well as the hundreds of thousands of loved ones – family, friends & colleagues – left behind to pick up the pieces after these workplace tragedies (the vast majority of which were preventable)…never mind the thousands of workers who died before 2000.

Or…maybe it’s time we stop accepting this disgraceful legacy?

Maybe it’s time we raised our societal expectations a few notches and started questioning why nearly 1000 Canadians a year are dying as the result of their work – be that from a injury sustained on the job or as the result of an occupational illness?

Maybe it’s time we take a good hard look at the sheer number of workplace fatalities, serious injuries and occupational illnesses – and crank up our collective efforts to shift towards a culture that truly reflects the belief that one workplace death is one too many.

Maybe it’s time we create a new legacy? Because quite frankly, our current one is…horrific.

To this end, the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund is in the early stages of creating our next 30-second TV ad/public service announcement (this will be our 9th PSA). The purpose of this PSA will be to raise public awareness about the simple fact that a staggering number of Canadians are dying simply because…they went to work.

But we could use some help. 

Please click here for details about our current fundraising campaign (that runs until Canada Day 2019).

Thank you.

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her regular weekly blog, please sign up here

 

Until We Meet Again Podcast – Elizabeth Fournier Interview with Maryanne Pope

 

“When great souls die,
the air around us becomes
light, rare, sterile.
We breathe, briefly.
Our eyes, briefly,
see with
a hurtful clarity.
Our memory, suddenly sharpened,
examines,
gnaws on kind words
unsaid,
promised walks
never taken.”

– From the poem, When Great Trees Fall, by Maya Angelou

On Thursday April 11th, 2019, I was very honoured to be interviewed by Elizabeth Fournier, host of the KKPZ-AM radio show, “Until We Meet Again,” out of Portland, Oregon.

The show gently opens up conversations about death in a culture where people are often left wondering what to say or do after the loss of a loved one, or when supporting someone who is grieving.

Right before my interview, Elizabeth read Maya Angelou’s poem, When Great Trees Fall, in it’s entirety. It is a beautiful piece of writing…and was a perfect start to our candid and heartfelt chat about death, grief and life after loss.

For this blog post, I chose to use the above image of the ocean, as well as the starfish excerpt from my book, A Widow’s Awakening, because Elizabeth began our interview by asking me about my new home in Parksville on Vancouver Island…and whether I had a view of the ocean. As you’ll hear in the podcast, I told her no, I didn’t have a view of the water but I do have a lovely garden view and am a 5-min drive from the sea.

Now that nearly 19 years (can you imagine?!) have passed since my husband John’s death, I can safely say the tide HAS returned for this starfish…I am happy again 🙂

To listen the 30-minute podcast with our interview, here is the link.

My interview will be played on the radio show in 6 weeks (so late May/early June 2019). In the meantime, if you’re interested in listening to the show, Elizabeth has some really neat guests. The show can be heard every Thursday at 2 pm (PST).

“Maryanne’s book is unlike any widow book I’ve read due to her honest nature of stumbling her way through the relationship with her husband while he was alive, and after his death. Her outlook is pragmatic, courageous, and I believe quite helpful for widows to feel they are not alone in their journey becoming the awakened person they were meant to become. A Widow’s Awakening offers a wonderful balance of practical knowledge and inspiring advice that will give its readers a sense of peace and hope.”

– Elizabeth Fournier, Until We Meet Again radio host

To purchase A Widow’s Awakening, please visit BHC Press for a list of on-line retailers.

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her regular weekly blog, please sign up here. As a thank you, you’ll receive a short but saucy e-book entitled, Dive into this Chicago Deep Dish – Ten Bite-Sized Steps for a Yummier Slice of Life.

 

published in Failure, John Petropoulos Memorial Fund, Public Speaking, Workplace Safety by Maryanne | January 15, 2019 | 14 Comments

The Bigger the Failure the Better the Lesson

 

Last week, I found myself delivering a safety presentation to a gymnasium filled with two hundred Junior High School students. The kids were great. Rambunctious yes…but for the most part, attentive and well-behaved.

The presenter, on the other hand, well…she had a few things to learn. And what better way to teach an old dog a few new tricks than by placing her so far outside her comfort zone that she has no choice but to learn them. For in terms of what I consider to be enjoyable activities, public speaking to teenagers ranks slightly below having a triple root canal.

Admittedly, thanks in part to my current Bohemian writer lifestyle, my public speaking skills are a bit rusty. But I certainly know the story (the circumstances that led to John’s death) and the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund’s (JPMF) workplace safety messages inside out and backwards. I’ve delivered our safety presentation dozens of times to a variety of different audiences over the years…but never to a gym full of 14-year-olds. In the past, other JPMF speakers have done the school presentations.

In other words, I didn’t know my audience and I hadn’t bothered to do the research to tweak my presentation accordingly. But (for a variety of reasons) since it was ME standing in front of those kids, it was me who had to deliver the presentation…so I did the best I could.

And it’s fairly safe to say I was a resounding failure.

But that’s okay because while I was flailing about at the front of the gym, focusing on the wrong elements of the story, failing to make our safety messages relevant to that particular audience, causing the microphone to make that horrific screeching sound (I think I actually heard some boos from the crowd on that…can’t blame them) and struggling with the damn audio/visual system, I was also learning.

I had no choice. My contact person at the school (also responsible for crowd control) just happened to be a very switched-on, take-no-guff Vice Principal who knew how to handle the students AND, I soon learned, how to make our safety messages relevant to them.

Since the kind soul  had to keep coming up to help me with the A/V anyway, at one point she started taking the microphone and explaining to the students the points I (in an ideal world) should have been making.

Here’s a brilliant example of the Vice Principal in action:

She took the mike, looked at the gymnasium full of kids, paused a moment for effect (which really works by the way…the crowd hushed immediately), then pointed at them and said: “YOU have a role to play in helping make sure police officers, firefighters and paramedics make it home safely to their families.”

Then she pointed to the overhead screen behind her where an image from one of the JPMF’s videos was paused on the screen, then resumed addressing the students: “Those first responders come into YOUR school, YOUR homes and YOUR future workplaces to keep YOU safe! They are extremely well-trained but they are coming into an unfamiliar place and cannot possibly know all the hidden dangers…which is why you have to help make wherever you are as safe as possible.”

Then she handed the mike back to me. Wow. A little later, she did the same thing with our traffic safety messages.

Afterwards, I confessed to her that I had gone into the presentation not really convinced that young people – many of whom don’t yet have part-time jobs or their driver’s license – would find the presentation of interest or relevance.

To this she looked at me, crossed her arms (she is a Vice Principal after all) and said: “Do you have any idea how incredibly important the Memorial Fund’s safety messages are for kids this age?”

Obviously not…but I was certainly starting to figure it out.

“They are certainly old enough,” she said, “to understand that what happened to John was not only preventable it was completely unacceptable. The Memorial Fund’s safety messages and videos are powerful and effective…you just have to tweak the presentation so that you make it relevant to their age group.”

We’re not supposed to be good at everything

The very next day, wouldn’t you know it – but I was having coffee with a JPMF Board member. He, too, has delivered many safety presentations over the years but, like me, had been hesitant about the relevance of our safety presentation to Junior High students.

I told him all about the presentation and what the Vice Principal had said, including her specific examples of how to make the safety messages relevant to teens.

After I finished speaking, he leaned back, nodded and said, “Yup…got it. After hearing that feedback, I’ll do those presentations from here on in.”

And there you have it…we aren’t supposed to be good at every single task. If public speaking was where I wanted to direct my energy, then yes, of course I’d learn from my mistakes and tweak accordingly moving forward. But sometimes it’s okay to fail at a task for the purpose of learning and sharing what we’ve learned, so that someone else can pick up the ball and run with it.

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her regular weekly blog, please sign up here. As a thank you, you’ll receive a short but saucy e-book entitled, Dive into this Chicago Deep Dish – Ten Bite-Sized Steps for a Yummier Slice of Life.