Good Morning Team,
It’s the last week of June, and that means it is still National Safety Month! Have you been reflecting on safety a little more than usual lately? If so that’s great! If not, I hope it’s only because you think and work safely all of the time. As you already know, the need for safety doesn’t just come around at certain times of the year, it’s a true constant. And the need to think about safety doesn’t just happen while you’re on the job either. That “honey-do” list you might be tackling at home requires the same care and concern for safety as well. I suppose it goes without saying that you won’t be able to come to work if you’re injured at home and if you suffer a serious injury at work, you may never get to go home!
While every task or assignment will share similar safety needs, some may require much more. I know it’s sometimes easy to stop considering safety as much when those tasks are more routine or basic in nature. I actually believe that we really tend to think and act safer more when our tasks are complicated or unusual. However it’s really important to remember that accidents and injuries can happen in either situation. If we keep safety at the forefront of all we do, we can expect all our jobs and tasks to be completed safely. To help us continue to routinely think and act safely, here are some general guidelines for use both on and off the job.
Set High Standards for Yourself.
Don’t let anyone influence you with negativity. If you fail to wear PPE because you see that others aren’t, the injury you may suffer because of it will remain yours alone. You’ll really only have yourself to blame. Remember this admonishment you may have heard from your parents? “If Johnny decided to jump off a bridge, would you?”
Be your own Advocate for Safety Protection.
While your employer is required to provide you a safe workplace, you are ultimately responsible for your own safety whether you are on or off the job. Make sure you get all the necessary tools, equipment, training, and help needed before starting the task. Know the health risks, safety precautions, and PPE required of any chemicals you might be using as well.
Be a Plus in Safety.
Follow established safety rules on the job and adopt them while you are not. Encourage others to do the same. Your attitude plays a large role in the prevention of accident and injury. Try to think about what unspoken message you might be delivering to those who look up to you if you are not working safely at home.
Wear Proper Work Clothing.
Whether you’re working on or off the job, wear sturdy and appropriate footwear. Avoid loose clothing, dangling jewelry and make sure that long hair – though not a particular safety concern of my ownJ – is properly tied back so that it doesn’t get entangled in any machinery.
Know the Equipment.
Make sure that you’re well-versed in the operation and safety features of any equipment you are going to be using. At work, let your supervisor know if you are untrained or unsure of how to use it. Off the job, read and understand the owner’s or operator’s manual before using.
Respect the Machinery. From the smallest battery-driven, to the largest 3-phase electrically powered machine, they’re all designed to apply some type of force. If you put something in a machine’s way, it’s likely designed to either puncture it, crush it, pinch it, twist it, or cut it. Flesh and bone might not stand a chance. Make sure all guards are in place and remember to always de-energize the power before placing any part of your body near any point of operation.
Ask Questions. If you are ever uncertain, ask. Make sure that you understand the response given and do not accept answers that contain, “I think, I assume or I guess.” Be safe… be sure!
Use Care and Caution when Lifting. Both on and off the job, most muscle and back injuries are from overstraining. Use correct posture and lifting techniques, but know your limits and do not attempt to exceed them. The few minutes it takes to get some help can save you from a serious, life-changing back injury.
Good Housekeeping is needed. Disorganized or dirty work and storage areas are the breeding grounds for accidents and you are not the only one at risk. Keep the floors clear of debris, take out trash regularly and be especially concerned with oily or greasy rag disposal.
Practice Good Hygiene. Although you’d think one wouldn’t have to be reminded of this, always avoid touching eyes, face and mouth with gloves or hands that are dirty. Wash your hands well, even if gloves had been being worn, before meal breaks and at the end of your shift or before calling it a day at home.
Your own safety, as well as the safety of those around you, requires thought and appropriate action. Learn to listen, and maybe even develop, the little voice within that speaks to you of possible safety concerns, whether that work is on the job or off.
Have a great week and be safe!
Director of Facilities Services