Safety is all around us, and it is not just something you practice at work. There are hazards all around us. From everyday tasks, such as plugging in your devices into the outlet, to toys or clothes on the floor. Safety should be something we practice every day. It should be a part of our culture. Cutting corners can lead to catastrophic consequences and can ruin someone’s life in an industrial or construction setting. It can also cost your company a ton of money, not to mention having your reputation tarnished.
Companies have become more safety oriented with time, but there are still people out there who are willing to sacrifice safety just to gain that almighty dollar. There are some who preach safety on one end and speak a different language on the other end. With that being said, it is always good to have a refresher in some of the basic safety topics. There are training modules in place to help those coming into the industry and modules to remind those that have been in the industry for awhile.
Safe/Work Permits are a great way to prepare for your tasks. These permits are designed for you to be aware of your surroundings by showing you ahead of time some of the obstacles or safety hazards that may be in your work area. It is also a great tool to utilize so that you may be more efficient and be better prepared to complete the work with the right tools.
The permit system also helps you identify whether you will be working with specific kinds of work such as hot work (welding, cutting), confined space work, electrical, or elevated work.
Lock Out/Tag Out
There are countless stories of people who have been hurt or killed while working on a project or machinery that has been accidently powered on. The lock out/tag out procedure was created to help prevent incidents and set up a safe working environment for technicians and craft professionals in the area. Lock out/tag out does not only apply in an electrical stand point, but also applies in process areas such as assembly lines and industrial settings. If you are out changing a pump or valve and do not have the energy properly isolated, you run the risk of getting yourself and others hurt or killed.
Being aware of your surroundings is essential in this business. Depending on where you are working, you may have forklifts, cranes or other moving vehicles driving around. A craft professional may have left their tools on the floor or a conduit against the wall that can fall on someone. Being aware of your surroundings also includes looking up and down. Someone on a scaffold or column may accidently drop a tool. While you are on a ladder, you have to make sure you have three points of contact. If you are planning to get on a ladder, make sure there is no one else on the ladder. If you are on an unstable platform, make sure you are tied off with a safety harness. There are countless number of scenarios that can occur at any time that you have to consider when working in the field.
Proper Personal Protective Equipment
Here are some of the basic Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): steel toe boots, safety glasses, hard hats, fire resistant clothing (where necessary), earplugs. Some crafts have to wear special PPE such as arc flash suits, chemical suits, and safety harnesses. PPE plays an important role in safety and helps us to go home in the same condition in which we arrived. Some companies require you to wear a face shield when using power tools such as grinders. Pieces of metal have been known to come flying off and strike people in the face. Jewelry is not advised to be worn while working.
Everyone encounters some sort of unsafe behavior throughout their day. While on your way to work, walking through your office, or working on your home, safety should be a conscious decision that we enforce, not only while we are at work, but one that we do everywhere. Safety is a way of life.