By Karen Cates.
Reinforce roofing safety with a book that workers can read to their children
Did you ever wonder, “What was that guy thinking?!” when you noticed a safety violation on the job? You just finished refresher training for the whole team, and their first day back in the field, someone is up on the roof without wearing safety goggles!
Chances are that guy wasn’t thinking about safety at all. He was thinking about his tools, whether he has the right materials with him, why one of his crew-mates is late – any number of things. Safety became an afterthought, and something slipped through the cracks. Safety, like a lot of other good things, needs to become a habit to be consistent. And one way to reinforce good habits is through repetition.
I wrote Be Safe, Rafe! (and the Spanish version, ¡Mantente Seguro, Arturo!) for just this purpose. In collaboration with Tom Shanahan, VP of Risk Management at NRCA, and with two roofing contractors – one largely commercial and one largely residential – I created a short, engaging story for four- to nine-year olds designed to reinforce roofing safety messages that are in compliance with industry standards. Sarah Larsen, a student at Montana State University, created the charming and appealing illustrations with a talent for including roofing details that was guided by our industry experts.
The story embraces diversity through colorfully animated animal-based characters. Rafe is a young fox visiting his grandpa’s company, Foxx Roofing, where his mom, Isobel, is the safety director. Rafe recently fell out of a tree and broke his wrist. Grandpa Foxx decides it’s time to teach Rafe about being safe when he is up high and outfits him with his own safety gear. With a little training about fall protection, Rafe gets a chance to try out his new gear on a roof made just for him.
Be Safe, Rafe! is the perfect Father’s Day gift for roofing workers. It provides an opportunity to repeat and reinforce safety messages via a book your workers can read to their children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews. Not only does the dialogue conform to industry standards to encourage safety habits in your workers, but the book might also stimulate conversations with young ones about roofing careers and even family safety rules. See www.isthisaroof.com for details on how to order copies to reinforce your safety messages.
Karen Cates has consulted to the roofing industry for over 20 years. An executive coach, leadership consultant, and adjunct professor at the Kellogg School of Management, she advises professionals in a wide variety of businesses and settings. Karen is also a founding faculty member of NRCA’s Future Executive Institute where she teaches future roofing industry executives.
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