Everyday when my daughter left for school, I told her to “Go Learn Something!”
Today it was my turn. I try to learn something new everyday but usually fail miserably just blithely going about my life. Today, I actually “Learned Something” rather interesting and thought I’d share.
I’m sitting in my favorite Starbucks soaking up their WiFi having my first coffee of the day and watching the flow of customers. I love people watching…it’s one of the things I do best. Well, as fate would have it, an AT&T worker pulled in the parking lot, got out and put a traffic cone in front of his truck.
Now, I thought, “For goodness sake, he’s just parking in the lot, not on the street, I really don’t see any danger of his truck getting hit in that corner spot in a lot.”
While he waited near my table for his drink, and being the nosey Parker I am, I had to ask why. “I’m curious, I noticed that even in a parking lot you put the cone out? Is that just company policy — etched in stone — every time you stop the vehicle, you must put the cone out?”
This utility worker was so patiently pleasant and explained the company policy was not just to have compliant workers but observant workers. They found that just by putting the cone out every time the truck stops, the employee is more aware of their surroundings. The main reason is that it makes the worker walk around the vehicle to put down the cone and pick it up again. This gives the worker a chance to completely observe their vehicle, looks for anything amiss, any anomaly, anything out of the ordinary that could cause them some type of danger big or small. It could be just noticing a piece of glass or a nail that could puncture a tire, causing downtime to change the tire. It could be they forgot a tool setting on the bumper. It could be something dripping from the engine. It could be something like a child playing hide and seek around or in the vehicle. Sometimes, especially on side streets, children are around and curious about a utility truck with all the interesting gadgets on it, some have lots of small toolbox doors which children find intriguing. By walking around the vehicle to put the cone away they decrease their risk and improve their safety rating.
So, by putting out a traffic cone when the vehicle is parked and picking it up when ready to leave, the employee has the opportunity to observe their vehicle and the surrounding area to make sure everything is as safe as they can make it. This seemingly simple act of placing a traffic cone in front of their trucks each and every time the truck parks is directly reflected in their highly successful safety ratings. Suddenly, it all made sense.
Talking with this gentleman made me think of my Dad and his ever present words of wisdom. My father was a gearhead. Loved trucks, cars, engines, motors of all types. Dad was always giving us tidbits of advice…..it’s what Dads do. One thing that Dad always told us to do was to walk around our car before getting into it. Sorry Dad, but I’ve gotten rather complacent and sort of let that go by the wayside. I think after this utility worker explaining why, I will start walking around my car before getting in and just taking a moment to observe my surroundings.