On an ordinary day in December 2006, under what seemed to be ordinary circumstances, “Safety Happens” was forged in the 720-degree steam and heat of a boiler explosion aboard the USS Frank Cable, Guam.
PO1 Michael Lammey was burned over 48% of his body with 3rd-degree burns. He decided during the four years following the accident, and after going through 56 surgeries and thousands of rehabilitation hours, that enough was enough. The explosion affected six seamen and their families, with two fatalities in its wake. Michael experienced first-hand the toll of the explosion, and the effect it had on his and his shipmate’s family and friends.
He slowly began to understand his life was meant for a definite purpose, and he and his family began organizing resources to meet that purpose. As he defines it, his company, Safety Happens, exists to educate organizations and their safety team members who work in high pressure, dangerous vocations that safety does matter. Every person who leaves for work should expect to return home in good health.
Michael’s injuries are not a result of a safety protocol violation. His injuries can be directly attributed to complacency backed by a false sense of security. He began to recognize that when people routinely perform repetitive and dangerous tasks, it is very easy to become desensitized to the inherent risk of what could happen, and what also could happen after a risk becomes a reality. The two factors alone – complacency coupled with a false sense of security – can and do produce catastrophic results.
Safety Happens, the company that Michael created as a result of his injuries and to further his mission of safety first:
• Provides comprehensive safety training combined with real-life experience to create awareness of
the importance of safety
• Emphasizes that workers and the organization should be comfortable with reporting and addressing safety hazards
• Explains why OSHA’s minimum standards should not be the bar to reach but rather the base from which organizations start and build safety programs
• Stresses the importance of repairing safety hazards timely, efficiently, and effectively with the ultimate goal of minimizing injuries
First of all, thank you, Michael, for your service to our country. Thank you for taking something so painful and life-changing and using it to help many others. Your heart is purpose-driven and a beautiful example of strength.