My First Fatality

One of our readers asked if we could republish this poem from July 2012, not sure why but I hope it helps:

My First Fatality

iStock_000016871957XSmallIf I can, for once, be a little serious and compassionate….. A fellow Safety Professional, in a brand new role, recently experienced her first fatality. Unfortunately, many of us have been through this. I am still haunted by the first fatality that occurred on “my watch”. To help get through it, she has written and asked me to publish this poem. Could I ask any of you who have been through this experience to maybe reply with some appropriate words of encouragement or advice. There may be others out there in a similar situation either now or in the future who could also use some support from our “family”. All I could say was: “try to think about all of the lives you may have potentially saved over those 14 years on the job” – problem is, in this job, we’ll never know!

My First Fatality



I was told back in college

“One day, as a safety professional, there may be a fatality at your employer”

“Each one of us safety folks are literally trying to work ourselves out of a job, if the work is safe, they won’t need us.”

Fourteen years later, I have not yet worked myself out of a job.

In fact, I’ve heard of my first fatality.


How can this happen in 2012?

And then I look at the statistics: 6028 people die

Each day, at work in this world.


I bow my head, close my eyes.

What has happened, happened.

Give me the courage and knowledge to do what’s right.

So that what happened, doesn’t happen, again.


In a big global business, accidents happen.

It seems everyone is desensitized

Perhaps its because our worker didn’t die

Our employee caused the death of another worker.

Perhaps its because this fatal accident didn’t occur in our home country

It didn’t occur where 70% of business is.

It occurred thousands of miles away, in a country that doesn’t speak our language.


Someone died.

Someone is not going home to their children, their spouse, their family

Someone is not going to celebrations, laughing and having good times.

Someone is not going to be able to mend broken relationships, make new relationships

Someone is dead.


I know that everything happens for a reason

I know I am here to serve a purpose

I know this is part of my purpose

I am a safety professional

I will do my part.


Someone is dead,

It didn’t have to happen.

I will work to be certain

The lessons learned from my first fatality

Will never be forgotten.

Do you have any thoughts? Please share them below