Safety Photo February 2014

Makes me wonder what is in that Janitor’s Closet to warrant such a sign. I do not see the housekeeping staff completing confined space permits every time they have to get a clean rag.

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When it comes to signage, are you signing the areas appropriate and identifying the hazard? Do you over or under sign? Have you performed some type of hazard assessment to correctly identify the risk factors and work practices?

Safety Photo June 2013

It kills me when people proclaim to be safety conscious and yet act carelessly. You cannot see it, but the back of this guys shirt says Safety Leader. When I stopped to inquire if he knew what he was doing was wrong and sending a poor message, he had the audacity to ask if I was just going to lecture him or could he go back to work.

If your going to wear a shirt that makes a statement that you are a safety leader, you should lead by example and practice sound judgement.

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Fall Protection Equipment

I often find that the reason most people don’t implement a good fall protection program, or are out of compliance is not because of a lack of knowledge, but an ignorance as to what equipment is available to assist in their fall protection needs. They may, or may not, perform a fall or hazard assessment, but once the hazard is identified they didn’t know how or what to use to help. The following are some examples of specialized equipment designed to help comply with the various fall hazards in construction.

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Be sure to read the manufacture instructions for installation procedures and application requirements prior to use. If the system fails, where does the liability fall if the system is not installed properly? Use the right tool for the application to ensure adequate fall protection is in place.

Safety Photo February 2013

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).

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Safety Photo November 2012

I want to emphasize the importance of conducting equipment inspections. Our employees rely on various types of equipment to get their job done efficiently and safely and it is our job as the safety professional to ensure that they have the right tools and training to get the job done, but how often have you pulled up on a jobsite and found the equipment you provided them in a state of disrepair? I found this to be true with my service department and the ladders on their vehicles. Ladders are a tools that is commonly used and imperative to get many jobs done. However, these highly useful tools are often left on top of the vehicle and subjected to sun, weather, road conditions, and other forms of distress. It’s not just a matter of training your employees on how to conduct a good ladder inspection, but to hold them accountable to following through on these inspections. What do your ladders look like?

Safety Photo October 2012

Exits and doorways: we all understand the need to keep exits and doorways free of obstacles in the event of an emergency. However, I wanted to bring this photo to attention given that I have started to see snow in my state. When the snow and ice build up on walkways and stairs what do we do to control the slip/trip/fall hazards? Often times companies will salt or put sand down to help, but are we just trading one problem for another? What is the process to clean up the sand or salt once the snow is gone or melts? Once the walkways or stairs are dry and free of ice/snow the debris left from the salt/sand can cause a slip/trip/fall just as easily. Keep this in mind when you are looking to correct a hazard; will the solution cause another hazard once the immediate one is corrected?

The Consumate Safety Professional

What is a safety professional? Do we have a code of honor or professional conduct we abide by?

How many of you would stop and talk to a complete stranger because he was standing on the top two steps of a ladder? I did (see photo below). I did not yell, I did not raise my voice, I did not talk down to him, I simply stated that I was a safety professional and I noticed he was putting himself at risk and I did not want to see him get hurt. I asked him if he knew what he was doing wrong and he responded with a five minute conversation about OSHA and safety. He knew he was putting himself at risk, but he was just trying to get the job done. I then proceeded to ask him if he had a bigger ladder he could use and he said he did have one on his truck and that he would go and get it. He in fact did have one available for use and he got it and continued his work. Now he is safe and able to perform his duties without fear of harm (or at least less chance of injury). He even thanked me for pointing out his mistake and appreciated the fact that I said something.

The thing is if I had not intervened and something happened, would I be at fault? Would I have violated my oath as a safety professional involved and active in the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE)? I know I would not be able to look at myself and say I am a safety professional if that happened. Sometimes people are not trained in the proper way to work safely, other times they are just focused on their job and not paying attention. I believe that it is our job as safety professionals to step up and make a difference where we can and help to educate those who are not being given the opportunity to succeed and stay safe by their employers.

What would you do?