I know what you’re thinking…what do donuts and workplace safety have in common. Other than the fact that you may be served donuts at your safety meetings or training sessions, they certainly don’t belong in the same sentence together, never mind the same article….let me explain.

I had a friend and coworker back when I worked for Safeway (now Sobeys), many years ago in Alberta,  who on every single coffee break and lunch break would scarf down at least 2 freshly baked donuts…they used be freshly baked back then, not from frozen like many today.

He wasn’t an overly large or out of shape fellow, fairly average body type. At the time he was in his mid 20’s when we worked together and had a young family, just starting out in life. We were both full time and so I saw him 5 days a week except for our holidays.

I used to be amazed how he could consume the vast number of donuts every day and I would tell him on occasion…’man you’re gonna kill yourself if you keep eating all those donuts everyday’ He usually just laughed it off and replied…’I just have a sweet tooth and a few sweets every day isn’t going to kill me’

Now he had a point there, eating a couple donuts a day isn’t going to kill you today, tomorrow or even next week or month, but keep that bad habit going day after day, month after month and year after year and eventually that bad habit will takes its toll.

Now being in the workplace safety industry for the past number of years I realized the similarities with creating bad dieting habits like eating donuts every day and safety in the workplace.

Getting into bad habits involving your workplace safety may not injure or kill you today, tomorrow or even a week or month from now, but you can bet that eventually, just like consuming all those donuts, unsafe work practices will lead to an increased likelihood of incidents, accidents and even fatalities that may not take your life, but it may be your coworker who doesn’t go home that day.

By getting into good safety habits you can instill a safety culture in your workplace that people will emulate and follow. This includes, but not limited to, maintaining up to date H&S policies and program, making sure all you workers are properly trained in things such as; forklifts, overhead cranes, aerial lift, first aid, JHSC or H&S Rep and many more. Also making sure your health & safety board is up where most workers can see it on a daily basis and ensuring that the correct up to date material is posted there.

Employers should recognize that a safe workplace, with properly trained workers, is a productive workplace that shows they care about each and every worker.

Oh ya…I did see my old friend a few years after I left the grocery business and he was still alive amazingly enough. While he was alive, his quality of life was drastically changed the day he almost died from a heart attack. He survived but now has many health related issues due to his past diet…including all those donuts every single day over all those years.

Do what’s right, do what’s safe and ensure that you and your coworkers go home after every single shift.