One Last Letter Before Flight

festive winter village illustration

As silent snowflakes fell softly outside, the crackling of birch blazing on the hearth soothed him as he sat in his study at the Davenport desk. Later that night, with the cold against his shoulder he’d make his magical rounds all around the world. With the light touch of his quill pen, he replied to a letter that arrived the day before from Cleo, a curious young girl from Boston. He’d written a couple of letters to Cleo in past years answering her questions about his beard, belt, and boots but this one struck him in its brevity and inquisitiveness. Cleo’s letter simply asked – How in the whole wide world do you make it all happen in just one night? Listening through his new AirPods to a classic 70’s album, cleverly titled You Can Tune a Piano, but You Can’t Tuna Fish, he penned the following.

Dear Cleo,

Great to hear from you again! You know, I often ask myself that same question as there’s so much to do to prepare for my favorite night of the year. To be sure, it’s a year-round endeavor that I don’t think could be accomplished without the MEMIC Safety Net Blog that’s jam-packed with expert safety advice from a brilliant team of loss control professionals that are truly top-notch. For instance, from Randy’s post Are Your Guards in Place? Quick Tips for Improving Machine Guarding Safety, our top toymaker held a safety stand-down with his crew of craftsmen to conduct machine guarding assessments. Geez, what an eye-opening experience! Folks in the fab shop were busy for a spell, banging out a bunch of sheet metal guards to be installed lickety-split. The entire event served as a reassuring reminder that fixed guards save fingers. 

The day before Punxsutawney Phil got plucked out of his hole, Barrett’s blog Don’t Skate Around Snow Removal Equipment was posted. Given the amount of snow we throw up here, especially over a long Arctic winter, I was tickled pink to see powerful images included of plow trucks and heavy equipment that reinforce the importance of keeping a wide berth and safe distance away from these behemoths. I quickly communicated this message to the village elves who enjoy a stroll down to Noël’s Nightclub every Saturday night to hear the piano man sing them a song. Come Monday morning, it’s vital they’re still feelin’ alright when clocking into work as they’re invaluable in their contribution to the “Claus”.

I got a big charge out of Jennifer’s Don’t Get Burned! Know the Hidden Dangers of Lithium-ion Batteries blog. With the potential danger of lithium-ion batteries overheating and catching fire, I directed the dependable peeps in the electronics and graphics art departments to redesign the lithium battery warning shipped with every rechargeable device - batteries included. The multilingual leaflet is much more eye-catching with bold symbols and vivid text covering charging recommendations, operating and storage considerations, and safe disposal. I can always rely on my hardworking e-gang for their boundless energy and endurance, just like the Energizer Bunny.

Last April, Natalie’s narrative Want to Enhance your Leadership? Work on your MBWA! got me thinking about how I could more effectively interact with my workforce by applying the tips offered in the “Management By Walking Around” method of leadership. So, in donning a disguise, which by the way didn’t fool anyone, I proceeded to walk about soliciting feedback on everyone’s likes and dislikes with their job and what safety concerns they might have. Whoa, was I delighted with the outcome! I created a to-do list that together with management’s involvement was acted upon promptly for the enrichment of our safety culture. I’ve since ditched my Groucho glasses and enjoy every MBWA encounter. Dare I say it’s been a “wintah-wintah” situation each time (ho, ho, ho). Dovetailing on this experience, Chrissy’s commentary in Keeping Up with Safety Meetings Keeps Employees Happy inspired me to restructure the safety committee to ensure equal representation from all departments. We included the budget-minded bean counters, two reps from parks and rec, and a few fellas from the gizmo and gadget group who tend to tinker in isolation. Now, with everyone having an equal voice, we end each meeting with the chant “All for one and one for all!”. It sounded a little silly at first, but it’s been catching on like wildfire throughout the ranks.

Speaking of wildfire and the heat coming off the road with record-breaking summer temperatures, the time to act is “Here & Now”. We absolutely owe it to our children’s children and generations beyond to preserve this globe (Gaia) for the welfare of all inhabitants. From May to August, MEMIC clearly put some heat on getting the word out on how best to beat the heat with Susan’s Addressing Heat Hazards is Still Pretty Cool, Rod’s If You Can’t Stand the Heat – Go Somewhere and Cool Off!, and a couple of contributions credited to the LC Staff, The Heat is (Still) On, Especially In These Jobs and For workers, summer wanes but the heat remains. These lyrics from a Midnight Oil hit song aptly express my concern - How can we dance when our earth is turning? How do we sleep while our beds are burning?

On a lighter note, oh man, was I ever rockin’ in my rockin’ chair when I read Greg’s Everything in Its Right Place piece. Radiohead paired with good housekeeping practices – now that’s a peculiar combination, somewhat odd like “Weird Fishes/Arpeggi”. The dude makes a good point, though, on clearing clutter, eliminating fire hazards, preventing falling objects and avoiding slips, trips, and falls through proper housekeeping. With workspace a precious commodity, we decided to hold another safety stand-down purging storage bins and basements of unneeded items. Believe it or not, ten truckloads of detritus were hauled off to Tannenbaum’s Transfer Station. As you might imagine, we felt tons lighter after this collective effort. I don’t think Tom, the transfer station owner, could say the same. Sorry, sort of a dad/Father Christmas joke there.

In September, Susan continued firing on all cylinders with two related blogs The Menaces of Manually Moving Materials followed by The Future is Now with Wearable Technology. From loads of uplifting information therein, we happily added more hoists in the warehouse. Also, I’m real anxious to try out my new exoskeleton, size XXL, in hopes of saving my sacroiliac from attack when lugging a full sack of toys and presents down chimneys this eve. Beginning on Boxing Day, I plan to start losing a few pounds by hitting the gym regularly, but for now it’s “Eat, Papa, eat!” as the missus reminds me so I don’t disappoint the children. I reckon she doesn’t want me looking like that bad imposter played by Billy Bob Thornton. Oh well, lots of cookies and milk for me, tonight!

Well, Cleo, I know it hurts to say goodbye but it’s time for me to fly.

Yours truly,

Kris K.

PS Eat your vegetables and don’t pick on your little brother. Santa’s watching!

MEMIC’s loss control staff wishes everyone a safe and healthy holiday season.

The MEMIC Safety Net Blog staff would like to acknowledge the incredible contributions of Safety Management Consultant Greg LaRochelle on this, his 115th blog post. Our previous editor, Randy Klatt, commented “making workplace safety entertaining isn’t easy, but Greg never failed to hit the mark.” As Greg retires from MEMIC, we wish him happiness and ample time to listen to great music.