Michael W. Robbins Fund for the Enhancement of Workplace Safety Education
No one goes to work each day expecting not to return home. Unfortunately, this is the unexpected reality for over 4,000 U.S. workers and their families annually. That was the unexpected reality for 22 year old Michael Robbins as he stepped onto his construction job site in 1983. The unexpected drop of a platform beneath him led to his free fall down an 8 story elevator shaft. It was all, so, unexpected. Should a workplace fatality, or any injury for that matter, be unexpected? The answer, simply, is no.
In hindsight, you or I might be able to recognize the hazard present of being 8 stories high in a new construction building with no proper guardrail or fall protection system. Did Michael recognize that hazard, though? Did anyone; a supervisor, fellow coworker, or general contractor recognize that hazard? If that hazard had been identified, and precautions put into place, would Michael still be here today? I don't have the answers to those questions, but I'd like to think that if a more robust awareness education and training emphasis had been put on the job task prior to its commencement, Michael might still be here with us today.
This is the story and the reason behind the Michael W. Robbins Fund for the Enhancement of Workplace Safety Education. Safety awareness is pivotal for each person engaging in a job task, but that awareness only stretches as far as the knowledge of the surrounding hazards. Enhancing the identification skills and communication of recognized hazards and preventative measures are the foundation for avoiding workplace incidents. The M.W.R. Fund seeks to benefit the enhancement of workplace safety educational programs at an undergraduate level and beyond. Contributions to the fund will be given to Workplace Safety, Health, and Environmental Programs, to advance their technology, research, and real-world effectiveness. If a once unexpected condition can be recognized and corrected before it becomes even one single incident, the reward of the Michael W. Robbins Fund will have been completely recognized.