Author: R. Neal Gracey

Combating Drowsy Driving

Many years ago, a young fellow who I was great friends with was on a run to fix a truck up north. He called his wife on his way back to tell her that he would be home in about four or five hours. Well, it wasn’t long before she got word that he had fallen asleep while driving, gone over an embankment and sustained fatal injuries. Since then, I have heard dozens more drowsy driving stories, not from strangers, but from people I know. I have also been a victim of drowsy driving, waking up a few times in the past to the sound of slinging gravel. Once I actually woke up to the bright lights of a...

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Situational Awareness, Mental Modeling and Developing a Coach’s Eye

This month’s Tailgate Topic discusses and explains the relevance of situational awareness, mental modeling and developing a coach’s eye. Situational AwarenessPoor situational awareness often is a contributing factor to events that cause or could have caused serious injuries and fatalities. It is rare that such an event occurs when everyone on the job is using their situational awareness skills. Based on information from various institutions and specialists throughout our industry – including safety professionals at our own companies – situational awareness can be distilled into three primary...

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The Safety Coaching Observation Process

In the 1980s, my main job responsibility was “gin-setting” power poles in backyards and rights-of-way in Maryland. For those of you who are unfamiliar, a gin pole is a supported pole that serves as a lifting device; it has a pulley or block and tackle on its upper end to lift loads. Without the luxury of a boom truck, pole-setting was one of the most demanding activities in line work. Over my 37 years of setting poles, some days were more memorable than others. On one occasion, a pole had to be set behind a row house. Access to the work site was so limited that the only solution was to maneuver...

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