Have you ever driven by a safety hazard and told yourself “wish I could do something about that”? Well why not? I was driving by a house in my neighborhood and saw these painters misusing ladders and exposing themselves to fall hazards. I pulled over and my son (who is 14 and knows I am not afraid to say something to total strangers) said “are you going to go do something and do your job?”…which is funny that he thinks I am responsible for the safety of the entire planet…I walked across the street and introduced myself to the person on the ground. I mentioned that I was a safety professional and was concerned about their safety. After a quick summary of the OSHA regulations and potential citations, the guy seemed truly concerned and willing to make the situation better. I left my business card and stated that I would be willing to offer additional assistance if he needed. I believe that it is my responsibility, as a professional safety person, to address safety hazards and work to protect people in any situation where I am able. I hope I made an impact in these workers lives, or at least got them to think about safety on the job. I know I cannot solve all the world’s problems, but perhaps I can impact the life of just one person. If I can do that, then my life has purpose.
It amazes me how many people put so little value in their life. While working 12 stories off of the ground, this worker is making some adjustments to a guard rail system. From my vantage point it appears he is not protected from falls. As I continued to watch this guy I noticed another worker duck the warning line and come up to him. At one point this worker climbed back over the rail and there was no sign of a harness or lifeline. I see situations like this all of the time and continually baffled by the lack of safety and blatant disregard for life.
As a safety professional, do you take the time and make the effort to step up to protect others from harm?
I pulled up to a Dairy Queen location to satisfy a craving for soft serve and came across the following issue. I was so disturbed and taken aback by the situation that I had to pull out of the drive through and park. The safety of contractor and his employees were more important than my need for sweet creamy, ice-cold goodness.
When I pulled up there was an employee standing on the scaffolding (scaffolding pictured below) installing some new sheeting to the roof. This employee was a big man and positioned rather precariously. The scaffolding was completely unstable and just waiting for the opportune moment to tip over.
As I approached, I introduced myself as a concerned safety professional and stated that I wanted to help them prevent an accident from happening. I proceeded to educate them as to the various issues that I could see and how these could severely impact the health of everyone involved as well as the schedule and profitability of the job. Not one employee was aware of any wrongdoing and oblivious to proper scaffolding set-up and fall protection hazards. After spending a few minutes with the contractor, I proceeded to get back in line to get my delectable dessert.
As I pulled up to the drive through window I spoke to the manager on duty and told him of the situation with his contractor. I even gave him my contact information and told him to let the owners know they could call me with any questions.
I did what I could and hope that I made an impact on how they do business. All I can do is stop and try to help, but I cannot consciously ignore the situation and walk on by. I hope all of you have the courage and tenacity to step-up and speak-up when necessary.
Here is a good example of doing something half-way. Looks to me like they knew what to do, but didn’t do I completely correct. The end rails were on one side (although a little to far forward to adequately protect from falls) but they were not on the other side. Makes me wonder what else they did (or did not do).
These two photos reflect issues I see every day with regards to chemcial safety and container labeling and the rest of the Hazard Communication standard. I see spray bottles, drink bottles, buckets, etc. filled with all kinds of fluids (who knows what they are because they are not labeled or are misslabeled). Container labeling can be a serios problem if not properly addressed with employees. I have seen fatalities as a result of someone drinking something they htought was a sports drink, but turned out to be a toxic chemical. Or injuries resulting from chemicals breaking through or disoolving containers that they should never have been in to begin with.
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ART care has been recognized as a form of massage, not a medical treatment, by OSHA’s national office and therefore, it is utilized as a wellness and prevention program that does not generate an OSHA Recordable Injury when delivered for employees in this type of on site care program. OSHA VPP auditors called this program a Best Management Practice after auditing Sanmina-SCI. When working on-site at a corporation, ART is rendered to individuals with job tasks that may have a high propensity for developing MSD’s. By preventing soft tissue injuries from developing, companies can surely reduce recordable injury rates significantly.
Really? His response was; “We have been doing it this way for over 10 years. Nobody has gotten hurt yet!”
Do you have employees that respond in this manner? How do you approach them when they give you these types of excuses? I went out and purchased a lift cage and still had issues getting them to use it. When it comes to safety, you have to make it mean something to your employees. You have to get their buy-in and get them excited about it.
The way I fixed this problem was I listened to one of his concerns and gripes about people walking through the warehouse and getting in his way. I addressed the issue with those people and the problem was resolved. Buy letting him know that I was concerned about all my employees and not just picking on him, he bought into the idea that safety might just very well be important. How do you deal with safety in your organization?