Did you know that the simple act of slowing down and taking just 4 seconds to think about safety before doing any task has been shown to reduce the probability of an injury incident by more than 90%?
Of course, what you do in those four seconds is important! So, start here:
Am I trained?
Be honest with yourself here. Even if you have sat through hours of class room activity, do you know enough about this particular task to consider yourself trained? That isn’t meant to be a trick question. But you are the ONLY one that can answer that question. Let me put it into perspective for you….
I have sat through hours of class room activities over the course of my career discussing in detail about equipment and crane safety. But to this day I would never claim that I am TRAINED on the proper operations or inspection of Heavy Equipment or Cranes. I know that to operate them you must be knowledgeable. I know that you must do inspections, and that those inspections must cover certain aspects of the equipment. I know that you have to wear a seat belt. The list of things I do know is lengthy, but that does not make be trained.
If you are not trained on the proper and safe way to perform a task, don’t do it! You will just end up injured or injuring someone else. Stop and ask for additional training.
Do I have the right PPE?
This is more than the typical PPE – Hardhats, Safety Glasses, Safety-Toe Boots, High-Visibility Vests. This is the rest of it…
- Hearing Protection?
- Face Protection?
- Respiratory Protection?
- Welding Goggles or Helmet?
- Fall Protection?
- Rubber Boots over your typical boots?
When you think about all of the hazards associated with the task you are about to perform, can they be eliminated? And if not, are you protected from them?
Do I need help to do this?
Is this a task that you can safely do alone? This, again, is only a question that you can answer. We can give you guidance, but if you are honest with yourself, you are the one that will know the answer better than anyone. And before you decide to prove just how strong you are, that is activity that is to be left for the gym, not for work. Here, you are expected to get help. No one is going to be impressed with your ability to lift anything if it ultimately causes and injury to you or anyone else.
Can you pick that “thing” up by yourself? Or is it too heavy? Or too bulky? Or awkwardly shaped?
Should you perform that task in that area without anyone else around? Do others know where you are? Or where you are going? Or what you are doing?
Is this the safest way?
Here’s the thing. There are a million rules that cover a million scenarios. You probably don’t know them all. I can almost guarantee that you don’t know them all. But here is something else that I can absolutely guarantee…
If you look at a situation, ANY situation, in the workplace and ever think to yourself … “That looks dangerous” or “There has to be a better/safer way to do that” it is because it is, and there is.
You are the one doing the work. You are the one exposed to the hazard. You are the one with the answer. Share it! Help us improve the safety, not only for you but for everyone that is on our work sites.