Safety professionals (and Daytona 500 team) expect the unexpected

This week’s Daytona 500 race was full of excitement (wrecks, explosions with lots of fire). First, the race was delayed until Monday for the first time in 54 years due to excessive rain. Then, on Lap 2, Jimmy Johnson and Danica Patrick were taken out due to a clipping from another racer. It’s amazing that one car can spin out and cause the “flood-gate” to open and within seconds five cars are involved in a wreck.

Next up? A massive explosion. Juan Pablo Montoya lost control and ran into a jet dryer truck causing a mind-blowing explosion and fuel leakage that blanketed the track with fire. It was a miracle that no one was injured.

Just like those multi-car wrecks at the Daytona 500, a single event can trigger a chain of incidents that result in a complex issue.

  • incident occurs
  • employees are injured
  • machine/production line is down due to equipment damage/loss of operators
  • production halts
  • output is impacted

Because of training and preparation, emergency personnel were on the scene within seconds to aid Montoya and were prepared to respond to any problem, including one that has never before happened at Daytona International Speedway.

Responding to the incidents at the Daytona 500 took an entire team. As safety professionals, we also need support from the entire organization. You need commitment from senior executives to open the doors for appropriate staffing and technological support. You’ll also need to empower all employees to participate in the safety program. As a bridge between senior executives and front-line workers, workplace safety professionals are uniquely positioned to help build a strong safety culture.

Famous British statesman Benjamin Disraeli said, “I am prepared for the worst, but hope for the best.”

UL’s software and information solutions empower employees enterprise-wide to improve workforce health, safety and overall business performance.