Snow professionals face difficult and dangerous conditions all the time. Although most companies implement some type of safety training for managing the elements and equipment, one thing that may be overlooked is the personal safety of the team.
According to the Bureau of Justice and Statistics, more than 50% of alcohol-related violent crimes known to law enforcement occur between 9 p.m. and 3 a.m. This does not include any other substance, or non-violent crime. At the peak of criminal behavior, snow and ice management professionals are leaving for work, checking on sites and removing snow, sometimes alone.
Martyn Church, CSP, owns Eco Snow Removal in Colorado and is a certified personal defense readiness coach. He trains his employees with a format created by Tony Blauer of Blauer Tactical Systems, a leader in reality-based self-defense instruction. This format is based on the three Ds:
- Be aware of your surroundings.
- Don’t work with headphones on.
- Work in pairs or more in bad areas, and don’t engage with strangers.
- Listen to your intuition. If you feel uncomfortable, don’t let ego get in the way. As Blauer says, “the longer you wait to avoid conflict, the more difficult it becomes to evade it.”
If avoidance fails and you find yourself in a confrontation, try to diffuse the situation. Blauer says, “The way you speak, along with your body language, will strongly influence the outcome of most confrontations.” Your verbal and physical communication must convey the same message. Try to remain calm, even if others are not. If your communication is correct, you will know it. The situation will be calming for everyone.
Learn key phrases such as:
- I want to help you.
- What can I do to make this right?
- Tell me more so I can understand.
- I understand what you’re saying.
- Let’s see what we can do to make it better.
The final “D” is a set of skills that can only be learned on your feet. Master the arts of Detect and Diffuse, and the need to Defend should seldom become an issue. To be as prepared as possible, consider hosting a self-defense class for your team in the event they need to defend themselves on site. View all 2016 Snow Safety week articles and content here.