Lyle Watts on Safety

Lyle F. Watts was the seventh Chief of the Forest Service, serving from 1943-1952.

The following were made from a 78 rpm record found in the Fort Valley Experimental Forest archive. It is interesting that though the recording is from about 60 years ago the themes seem to be spot on current.

plan ahead for safety record label
plan_ahead_for_safety.mp3
(transcript)

play it safe record label
play_it_safe.mp3
(transcript)


Plan Ahead For Safety
A message to Forest Service Families
by
LYLE F. WATTS
Chief, U. S. Department of Agricuture
Forest Service
A-13123

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Hello fellow workers this is Lyle Watts. I want to talk with you about accident prevention. It seems to me that the safety of our own folks must be built right into everyday Forest Service thinking. In following our fine old tradition of getting things done come hell or high water sometimes we forget about the element of personal safety of our own employees. I can document that with any number of accident cases that come to my attention. Some of them are pretty distressing. We take chances. Somebody gets hurt or killed. With a little better planning we can do our job quickly, more efficiently and without injury. It isn't enough just talking about our safety program. We are going to put it across only when our entire organization really becomes safety minded. When all of us, and inspectors in particular, make sure that our folks are safety conscious all the time, only then will everyone instinctively see, and prevent those work practices that could result in injury. You all know that I have a real personal interest in employee safety. My interest goes beyond that. It has to do with the safety of a lot of folks. Not so long ago I was riding on one of our forest roads. We came to a small bridge with a broken plank at one end. The ranger had stuck a plank up in the hole so a driver could see it for some distance ahead. I asked "When are you going to fix that?" He replied "The maintenance crew is due in two or three weeks. They are going to put in a new culvert." I said "You probably won't run into it but somebody else might, some cattleman maybe. Suppose it is night time and he is hurrying home to do chores. He might not notice your plank and have a very serious accident." I said that if it were my job I would find a plank somehow to fix it up tomorrow. Needless to say it was done. Mind you this is a crackerjack good ranger, but like all of us he was just a bit thoughtless about what seemed like a minor matter. We're making good progress proving that the job of safety can be done - but we aren't on top yet. When we are it will be because from the bottom up and from the top down we all observe and correct all acts and conditions that are not safe. Lets keep losses of manpower, equipment and materials at a minimum. We can do this through efficient work methods and by planning ahead for safety on each activity. Accident prevention is a part of your job, and my job, and the job of the Forest Service.


Play It Safe
A message to Forest Service Families
by
LYLE F. WATTS
Chief, U. S. Department of Agricuture
Forest Service
A-13124

Friends, this is Lyle Watts. Thanks a lot for letting me in to chat with you about safety. A few weeks ago Nell and I took a weekend trip with some friends of ours. Incidentally, they aren't in the Forest Service. We were just site seeing. We had all day to take it easy. I like to take that kind of a trip whenever I can don't you? We all ought to do it oftener. The driver was a swell guy. I guess he drove about like the usual Forest Service driver. In my job I ride with many Forest officers so maybe I can judge average drivers. Now lets see what happened on this trip with an ordinary driver. Well, we went through a red stop light. We rushed an amber light two or three times. Twice we passed cars on hills where visibility wasn't good. Once my friend had to step on the gas because he had misjudged the speed of an approaching car when passing another one on a two lane highway. I know there were other driving rules violated during the two days. You know, there really wasn't any need for any violations at all because we had worlds of time to get where we were going. Anyhow, on this easy going pleasure trip the lives of the driver, his family and friends, were risked without reason. So were the lives of other people on the road. Sometime check your own driving action on a trip. It might surprise you. Most of us have done about what my friend did but just how much time do we save by these fast trips? It really isn't enough to risk the lives of our family and friends - is it? Highway accidents claim about thirty two thousand lives and injure over a million people each year. Think of it. That's one man, woman or child killed and thirty four injured every sixteen and a half minutes. I'll wager that each one of you know somebody, either a fellow worker, a friend, or a family member perhaps, who was hurt recently. Isn't that right? Well, we're making good headway with our drive to prevent accidents on the job but there is still lots to be done. I'd like to suggest that all of us, I mean everyone in your family and mine, get in this program together. Make an extra effort to avoid injuries at home as well as on the job. So next time you jump into your car, or the bathtub, or climb a ladder, or the stairs, or chop kindling, or go deer hunting, take a moment to consider how to do whatever you are doing the safe way.

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