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Expert Q&A: Safety First!

On the Job | October 1, 2015 | By:

Q: What mistakes lead to fatalities and injuries on the job?

A: Safety starts before you show up on the job site. Safety begins before the job is even sold. There are steps along the way that can make the difference between having a long and satisfying career and being injured, permanently disabled or killed.

Mistakes before you get to the job site:

  1. Bad planning. This includes conducting an inadequate site survey, where hazards go unrecognized or unreported, and not assigning enough time, personnel or resources to do the job, which forces the crew to improvise.
  2. Inadequate training of employees and/or crew chiefs. This encompasses all of the necessary skills and information for tent installation, including being aware of the right to refuse to put yourself in harm’s way.
  3. Bad instructions or inadequate communication. This includes asking or telling the crew to accomplish something unsafe or dangerous, ignoring language barriers and failing to call 911 when necessary.
  4. Bad, inadequate or unsafe equipment. If it is broken, chipped, dull, worn out, undersized or otherwise inadequate, it should not get loaded on the truck.
  5. Working under the influence. This includes drugs (legal or otherwise) or alcohol, or knowingly working with someone who is under the influence. These things don’t happen on the spur of the moment.

Mistakes on the job site:

  1. Not using personal protective equipment (PPE). Depending on the state in which you work, if you’re injured and you chose not to use the PPE, your insurance claim may
    be rejected.
  2. Not being physically capable of doing the task. This includes overestimating your strength or misjudging your fatigue. The same principle applies to equipment. By using undersized equipment, you can create accidents by tipping over forklifts, dropping beams and so on. By stressing your back, you can be setting yourself up for a lifetime of disability. Get help, get the right equipment or don’t try it.
  3. No task planning on-site or improvising the task. Don’t rush in when you should take a minute to think. Determining your options and executing a common-sense plan can save you a lot of grief. For every one way in, make sure you have two ways out, in case something falls or fails.
  4. Bad positioning. Do not put yourself in harm’s way. Always know what is in front, behind, above and below you.
  5. Personal distractions. The problems you mentally bring to work will only be made worse by dwelling on them and getting hurt or killed.

By Ken Keberle. This column was previously posted on the blog for Rainier Tents. For more, contact Brian Rowinski.

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