2014 NSC Congress & Expo coverage: Speaker shares human side of safety

San Diego – Charlie Morecraft used to wear sunglasses to his company’s safety meetings.

The reason was simple: Morecraft didn’t want anybody to know if he was sleeping in his seat located in the back of the room.

“That’s the way I felt about safety,” Morecraft said. “For me, safety was no big deal.”

One day, everything changed. Morecraft was performing a routine task at an Exxon Mobil Corp. refinery when a chemical spill and explosion nearly killed him, leaving severe burns across 45 percent to 50 percent of his body.

Morecraft’s voice cracked as he shared his story in front of a packed ballroom, as part of the Motivational Keynote address of the 2014 NSC Congress & Expo. He spoke along with E. Scott Geller, a senior partner at Safety Performance Solutions, during a presentation titled, “The Human Side of Injury Prevention.”

The life-changing explosion could have been prevented, Morecraft said, if he had followed simple safety procedures. He chose not to wear safety glasses because they were uncomfortable. He failed to shut off a truck in the refinery, which ignited. He had rolled up the sleeves of his flame-resistant clothing because it made him hot.

But the burns were not as painful as the way his injuries affected his family relationships, Morecraft said. He dedicated his speech to his daughter, Jennifer, who died in October from damage caused by years of drug and alcohol abuse.

“Everything I had, I lost in one split second,” Morecraft said. “And for what?”