THE BEST WAY TO STAY SAFE ON THE JOB—MAKE IT PERSONAL
When you read a news article about construction workers being injured, what’s your reaction? Are you quick to dismiss those involved as reckless? Do you spend time trying to figure out how it could have happened? Or do you try to file away some lesson that might keep you safer on your next job? Safety statistics make it clear that the more focused you are on your own personal safety, the more likely you are to avoid an accident. Such an incredibly simple idea that is not so simple in practice.
One of the best ways to make safety second nature is to take personal responsibility for it. There are many things that you have complete control over as an individual that can contribute to your safe practices. Try using some of the advice on this Quick Start Safety List.
- Check your wardrobe. Do you have appropriate safety gear? Are your boots in good working order? Do you have a pair of gloves available to avoid hand lacerations?
- Rev up your engine. Get your mind and body in good working order before you begin work. A good breakfast and some light stretches or calisthenics are a good start for your heart and your head.
- Stay hydrated. Take care of yourself like a professional athlete. Proper hydration is tied to alertness, strength, concentration and a host of other factors. Avoid energy drinks and carbonated sodas. Water, citrus drinks, Gatorade, electrolyte replacement, ice coolers—all good.
- Avoid wearing tinted lenses all day. Many equipment operators wear sunglasses all day long as a matter of convenience. However, wearing lenses all day can actually diminish your eyes’ ability to see clearly and sharply. At dusk, on cloudy days and in some cases in the shade, remember to give your eyes a break.
- Regularly inspect your three points of contact. Falls are the most common cause of jobsite accidents. If you have to “climb up,” take a minute to inspect those areas and look for possible hazards.
- Stow your phone. Smart phones can be awesome tools, but they can also be awesome distractions. If you are operating equipment, you should NOT be texting, talking or checking email.
- Know your safety equipment. Know where the first aid kit, fire extinguishers and other safety items are kept at all times.
- Commit to calling out unsafe behaviors. If you see someone making a bad safety choice, remind them of the right choice.
This list is less than 10 items that you can easily take personal responsibility for every day. Raise your awareness and you will raise your own personal safety performance.