by Gene G. Goodson
Protecting employees, citizens and the environment is top priority for the surface mining company where I worked. With unlimited safety funding and strong enforcement regulations, our company was a jewel in a sometimes murky sea of opportunists.
Mandatory daily, weekly, monthly and formal annual safety training for all employees, including more intense training for the newly employed, yielded fewer on the job injuries. Conducted by a federally certified instructor who was also an employee, the safety training records always led the parades, i.e. dog and pony shows.
Here is only part of my story.
Always confident, I cross the railroad tracks
Briefcase in hand, steel-toe boots laced
Clay's magic power in the air to attack
Dust mask, safety glasses, earplugs in place.
Emergency radio on and strapped to my waist,
Front-end loaders sound back-up alarms,
Get over the barricade this rainy day,
White hard hat protects -- there is no charm.
I open the door to the room with glass walls
Jingling keys and laughter, thirty men are there
Lapsing into silence their eyes tell all
The Crisis Commander's a woman, yellow hats stare.
Negating the silence, the orange hats speak
Only five minutes to spare, I check the backroom
Prostrate from travel lay the speaker of the week
Quick with a joke, he'd be called on soon.
Roller mills whining and rumbling in the east
Southerly Raymond mills' answering thuds
The Fine Grind robot's stacking with ease
Unleashed machinery rests in the mud.
See the coveralls? Power suit's in my office
The designer shoes and hairspray wait to go forth
Until they are trained, yellow hats are at risk
Very few women chance this, glass ceilings soar.
With knowledge, skill and a lot of luck
Excess effort has its time and place
Young face changed, father time has struck
Zenith reached no matter the age.
G. G. Goodson writes online using the penname “RiverDancer.” She says she has no credentials other than she is a retired Corporate Director of Human Resources. She works occasionally as a Surface Mine Safety consultant. RiverDancer and her husband have lived in the panhandle of Florida all their lives.
The fishing trip
Saturday night sweatin'
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