The Safety Habit, one year later

Today, one year later to the date, I was drawn to the domain I purchased for the book I started to write on June 16, 2020. I don’t plan to keep the domain, so being a thrifty person, I figured I’d archive the two posts from thesafetyhabit dot com to this blog. For history’s sake, here are the blog posts from June 16, 2020 and July 15, 2020 respectively with an update immediately following:

6/16/2020 – Thanks for the Challenge!

James Altucher laid down a 30-day book challenge and I’m taking him up on it. Today, June 16, 2020, marks day 1 of the 30 day challenge to write a book. Yes, a whole dang book. Inspired by James, I’m taking publishing into my own hands, and taking the step (leap?) to write my first book. I have been constrained for too long with rules set by 0lds who have been rendered obsolete by the internet. Follow along, and please check out the final product when it is ready. And please, be similarly inspired by James if you’ve always wanted to write a book too!

Check out James’ post that started it all on LinkedIn.

7/15/2020 – The book is live!

Today is the day! I completed the 30 Day Book Challenge by taking it down to the wire, the 30th day… but I did it! I feel like I’ve formed a new habit, hmm…

You can get the book for free with Kindle Unlimited, other options at the link.

Make sure to leave a review after you check it out!

OK, back to 2021…

A year later, what have I learned?

  1. People assume that because you’ve written a book, you’re making a lot of money off of it. This is very very false, especially when dealing with Kindle as your sole route of distribution.
  2. People will call you an author now. I find this a little weird, but technically it is true – I wrote a book. However, I’m married to an actual writer, so I understand there are standards of how an author should be evaluated! That said, I’m still proud to be an “author of a Kindle book.”
  3. An e-book can be the new business card in the virtual world. A hard copy book can be a business card in the real world. Either sets you apart from the crowd, the latter makes it a bit harder for the receiver to recycle what you just handed them…
  4. Writing a book is like getting a tattoo, you’re already thinking of the next one while finishing the current one. And yes, I have another book in the works! I may need to utilize the structure of the 30-day challenge to get this one done as I started it in 2017…
  5. People like physical books. I haven’t promoted The Safety Habit book much, but whenever I do, a few folks ask for a paperback. Kindle actually has a paperback option, but The Safety Habit (version 1) was a little too short to publish that way. Keep an eye out for a slightly updated version of The Safety Habit so it can be published as a paperback along with my second book.
  6. Audio books aren’t easy! As a relatively experienced podcaster, I thought recording an audiobook would be a cake walk. It wasn’t. Short advice: read and fully understand the requirements of recording audiobook files before dedicating a Saturday morning to what could be a fruitless endeavor. Oops.

Thanks for coming with me on this reflection, if you haven’t read The Safety Habit, I’d obviously love it if you did! If you’ve already read it, you can gift a copy to another person – pass it on! It’s “dads and grads” season, and the book has a familial angle that makes it a perfect gift.

Click here to buy The Safety Habit on Kindle.

Virtual Meetings Sans Screentime

The smell of Tiger Balm has faded, but my neck and shoulder are still pinched. My blue light glasses are on my face most of the day, as I go from my laptop, monitor, TV, Apple Watch, and iPhone screens constantly. Last night, my instagram and facebook feeds included friends who were sporting Hugaroos, weighted blankets, and compression socks asking for others’ thoughts on self care after a long week.

I too had a long week and couldn’t figure out why my neck, shoulders, eyes, and lower back hurt just a little more than usual. I wanted to relax and watch a movie with the family, but the light from the screen made my eyes want to explode. Then I realized I had 3 weeks worth of meetings in one week because of the “magic” of virtual meetings “thanks” to Zoom, Webex, Teams, GoToMeeting, and Meets. No exaggeration, I had multiple meetings on each of those platforms this week – you probably did too.

My husband is a teacher, and I realized I have FAILED him by not providing an ergonomic assessment of his sit-only workstation. This is only after he noted severe pain in his right wrist and shoulder – easy to make the conclusion on that one… Don’t worry, I ordered this sit-stand desk before sitting down (oops) to write this blog post. I have the same desktop and LOVE it.

So now as the effects of hot water, exercise, stretching, Tiger Balm, and more heat are subsiding, I’m here to give you some ideas on how to have effective SCREEN FREE virtual meetings.

  1. Remember the phone? Some of these virtual meetings are better suited to the old school conference call format. At work we use Webex, and there is a call-only way to schedule meetings through Outlook. If your meeting will consist of people giving verbal updates with no need for visuals, consider phone only!
  2. Get moving if you’re lucky enough to have a phone only meeting. Stand up, squat, lunge, walk around the house, walk around the block while listening to the meeting. Be mindful of ergonomics by using your bluetooth headset or corded earphones to listen. Personally, I hate having earbuds in my ears, so I have two Aftershokz bone conduction headsets for use during calls, meetings, and working out.
  3. Plan ahead if you have visuals like reports or slides for your virtual meeting. When you’re meeting with people you already know (coworkers, long-term clients), the video component of your meeting may not be necessary. Provide a PDF copy of a report, slide show, or other document you’d usually put on the screen in advance via email. Encourage your meeting attendees to familiarize themselves with the PDF in advance and write notes in a notebook or print the PDF if they need to look at it during the meeting (instead of starting at the screen). This frees them up to move around and be comfortable during the meeting instead of frozen in front of their webcam. If they must look at the screen, provide instruction in advance and/or during the call of WHEN to refer to the screen so they don’t need to look at it the entire time.
  4. Get creative in your presentation of materials during virtual meetings. As in #3 above, add instruction on when to look at the screen. Similarly, instruct people on when to turn on their webcam if not needed the entire time. Consider having the camera on during the beginning of the meeting if any introductions are needed, then tell people they may turn them off for the remainder or until the end to say goodbye. As always, remind people that video is optional, often people need to put lunch on the table or quickly review a child’s assignment since most schools are still in hybrid or 100% online learning.
  5. Treat it like a book report. If a virtual meeting is meant to move a collaborative project along, set an expectation that the materials need to be reviewed in advance, and the meeting is a verbal call to discuss progress and action items. When you gave a book report in front of the class as a kid, the entire class didn’t have your book in their hands!

I have to do that ergonomic assessment now, do you have any ideas to add?

The Language of Fatal Incidents in the Media

Tomorrow’s Safety News with Abby Ferri podcast episode was inspired by the life of Jorge Villafuerte III, a worker who died in an incident at the Line 3 pipeline project late last year. He leaves behind 9 children. The Line 3 project is always in the local news, so this incident has received more coverage than most workplace fatalities. This article from the Star Tribune is the most detailed I’ve seen, and includes a rundown of the contractor’s recent OSHA enforcement activity, which includes at least one other fatal incident.

I don’t have answers, but I know that our workers expect “new” and “more” from us safety professionals. We have so many lessons learned from 2020, and while 2021 is just number, it is an opportunity to begin focus on how we will APPLY the lessons we learned in 2020.

Listen to the new episode after 12am CST on Sunday 1/3/2021 so you can be ready for your week. You can find the podcast on any of the usual platforms like Apple Podcasts or Spotify, or stream direct at my show’s landing page:

Be safe out there, communicate for understanding and action.

Fatal Falls in the News & SIF Talk

This week’s Safety News with Abby Ferri is about how we discuss serious injuries and fatalities (SIFs) in our workplace. This episode was triggered by a trend of fatal falls in the recent news, notably at hotel construction sites, news stories linked below:

Worker falls to death at Agua Caliente Casino site

Falling debris at Marriott construction site

Man dies after fall from scissor lift

Scaffold collapse in Keene, NH

How do you discuss SIFs at your workplace? Hopefully you do, even if your non-fatal and non-serious injury and illness rates are decreasing. Check out the report from the Campbell Institute and this white paper from DEKRA for more information on SIF prevention messaging and activities.

COVID state (plan) state of mind

I’d be remiss if I didn’t dedicate this week’s Safety News with Abby Ferri to Cal/OSHA! Since my safety career began in SoCal, I keep tabs on what’s going on with Cal/OSHA always, and this spring, summer and fall have been no exception. Sure, other states enacted temporary emergency language, but none will go down as being as inclusive and sweeping as Cal/OSHA’s.

Virginia was the first state to adopt workplace-specific COVID standard. Other states with workplace-specific COVID protections for workers include:







New Jersey

New York



Rhode Island


Cal/OSHA goes further in how prescriptive their standard language is, and the fact that Cal/OSHA has the capability to mobilize compliance officers to enforce the language. Keep tabs on Cal/OSHA through the Cal/OSHA Reporter, it’s what I’ve used for years, and make sure to subscribe to any state-specific content provided by your insurance broker and carrier partners – their risk control professionals are working to stay on top of the changing info!

Read the Cal/OSHA one-pager on the temporary emergency standard here, and click on the link provided for a template program. This is required reading for any safety pro, regardless of where your organization’s operations are.

If you have operations in CA, be sure to read the full text of the standard here.

Keep the conversation going on LinkedIn, and let’s help each other out!

Listen to the podcast version of this news by finding Safety News with Abby Ferri on any of the major podcast platforms, or stream direct at

Romania Safety Guide

Check out my e-scooter article, translated to Romanian for the HSE Romania Guide 2020! It’s on pages 76-77.

WISE Speakers Save the Day

The Africa and Middle East OHS Summit is officially in the books, thanks to an amazing effort by women organizers and speakers. At the link, you can scroll through the agenda to see the speaker abstracts, and all topics are very relevant and would be great for that event you’re planning… But as Lavar Burton would say, “don’t take my word for it.” In the words of event speakers, here’s the scoop!

From Mary Stine, “Through the forethought and planning of our WISE Leaders – The Speakers List was the salvation of another women in Science’s dream. This list compiled with some of The ASSP’s brightest stars, was reviewed by a female scientist in Tunis, Tunisia and she selected several members of WISE to spread the message of US methodologies and the though process of Safety Management. Over a three day event, the WISE community endeavored to support her cause and as a result we were instrumental in her garnering respect amongst her colleagues. It is events like these that show our common interest group is more than a branch of ASSP, but it is our them in life. To support those in our community to navigate the waters of Safety and Environmental Health.”

From Rachel Michael, “Souhir was a one-person everything for the conference and was GREAT. I liked the 30 minute presentation format. I was happy to participate!”

From Kathi Dobson, “Souhir was great – very responsive, even with the time differences. Nice to see that PPE issues and lack of proper sizing is pretty darn universal.”

From Tricia Kagerer, “Souhir did a great job in communicating and responding. Based on all the challenges, I’m impressed they forged on and made it happen.  Overall the opportunity to present globally was a great experience. I appreciate the professionalism of the staff.”

From Adele Abrams, “Given this was pulled together virtually, the organizers did a great job and I’m so pleased that WISE members seemed to dominate the sessions!”

From Adrianne Pearson, “I’m truly grateful for having the opportunity to participate in such a global event! I was nervous because I’m not familiar with the African and Middle Eastern cultures. That said, I accepted the challenge to learn more about each culture and their intercultural communication styles, such that I incorporated what I learned into my presentation. I’m thrilled about such events because it communicates and brings attention to the fact that environmental, health and safety is a very important worthy topic. It also illustrates that there are many who work hard in the profession to ensure that workers are going home safety to their loved ones and community members. I felt the conference gave an avenue for us to come together, to share what we know, and support each other with our triumphs and tribulations. It also allowed for exposure to other cultures and even though we may be speaking different languages, our challenges are similar even from a global standpoint and what a fantastic way to get like minded people together to help solve common problems our profession endures. Bravo to Souhir for taking on and devoting to such a task! I look forward to hopefully participating in the next conference (if there is one). Thanks for the opportunity to provide my feedback. I’m so excited to be part of an amazing community! Lastly, I’d like to thank you Abby for your efforts and time with developing and maintaining the WISE speakers list, as well as doing a write up about our experience regarding the conference.”

From Linda Tapp, “it was great to be exposed to a broader audience. It was a good opportunity to practice virtual presentation skills which are much different (and I think more difficult) than in-person presentations. The 30-minute time slot was perfect and in fact, Guy Kawasaki recommends that virtual presentations be no more than 30 minutes.”

September 21, 2020 Safety News

Today’s Safety News is based on a request from the VPPPA Network of Women (NOW) to discuss how I’ve improved my public speaking. Check out the VPPPA NOW group on Facebook and learn more about the VPPPA at

I’m still thinking about last week’s Safety Justice League episodes on Snake Plissken and with guest Sharon Lipinski of Habit Mastery Consulting.

This Friday’s new SJL episode is with Risk Talk founders David Press and Stuart Farquharson. Their app is unique yet it makes you wonder how it’s not widely adopted yet!

Catch up on all episodes on your favorite podcast platform or stream direct at

News Music:

“Dream Catcher” Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License

COVID, crud, and getting cozy for winter

A LinkedIn connection posted this article about the most likely way one would contract COVID, and it got me thinking… First, I know that article is long, but it is worth the read, I’ll be here when you get back.

Spoiler alert, you’re most likely to be exposed to COVID when indoors, and as many articles have suggested recently, in an indoor dining (or drinking) establishment. Take-out, curbside, and delivery are still the best options to minimize your exposure but still enjoy your favorite places!

If you run a business that serves the public, check out the guides from the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) and American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) related to air handling. Here’s a start.

Most businesses have been using the outdoors to spread out for meetings and events, and restaurants have added outdoor seating in parking lots and other outdoor areas. As a person based in an area that gets hit pretty hard by winter, the days are already getting colder, forcing us to think of how we will adapt in a different way this season. It’s acceptable for a construction crew to have a tailgate meeting outside when it’s below freezing, but you’re not going to have an office staff meeting in your outdoor commons at that time of year! Start thinking now about how you’ll manage when the option of outdoor space is taken away by ice, snow, and bitter cold.

In Minnesota, MNOSHA mandates that portapotties have to be heated beginning November 1. (There’s a fun fact for my warm-climate based friends!) This date marks when construction sites and other outdoor work areas begin (or are already in the swing of) enclosing and heating those spaces. We must consider now how we will manage air quality in these enclosed areas in a few weeks. It’s always been a concern, and we’d laugh when a whole crew gets the same “crud” over the course of a few weeks. But COVID is not the usual crud, and we have to do better.

How is your workplace planning ahead for the closed up (cozy?) times ahead this winter?

Amazon’s Career Day 2020

In honor of Amazon’s Career Day, I wanted to share two ways I’ve leveraged Amazon for my safety marketing and media plan.


I’m a huge fan of using voice tools to get safety messages out to a large amount of people in a quick and efficient way. It’s fun to look back on media from a couple years ago to read predictions on this. What’s not fun is that it seems our industry is still in the same place. Read my excerpt in this 2018 EHS Today article at this link to see what I’m talking about.

My challenge from the article still stands for you to build a Flash Briefing Skill! I’ll admit that I initially set out a few years ago to develop an Alexa Skill. I realized it was just a bit beyond my capabilities, and developed a Flash Briefing Skill instead – Safety News. The content is always refreshed weekly, sometimes 2x a week. It’s meant to help safety pros and others who are communicating to their workforce about safety. You could even just tell those workers to listen to the Flash Briefing directly. Or, accept my challenge and make your own!

Enable the Safety News to hear it in your Flash Briefing!

The Safety News is now available as a podcast too, so you can ask any smart speaker for it… I’ve got you covered!


Storytelling is one of my favorite ways to communicate about safety. I set out to write a book over 7 years ago, and it’s still unfinished. A couple of months ago, I accepted a 30 day challenge to write and self publish a book using Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing. I wrote The Safety Habit and hit the top 3 in Safety & First Aid books for a while during Summer 2020! It was such a cool experience and intuitive publishing process that I’m going to finish the book I started years ago and publish on KDP. That book will be longer than The Safety Habit, so it’ll be eligible for publishing as a Kindle paperback too.

Last but not least, I’ll record Audible versions of both books.

I realize this may seem like a lot to some of you but I assure you that Amazon has made the processes intuitive! Drop the name of your Flash Briefing Skill here so I can enable it in my feed…

If you’re currently job hunting, make sure to check out Amazon Career Day 2020 on 9/16/20!