Monthly Archives: June 2016
“Watch Your Step”
If there is a dream team in the sport of mountain climbing, this was it. Legendary mountaineers Peter Hillary, Peter Athans, Brent Bishop, Peter Ligate and a team of porters and support personnel had reached Camp 2 in their assault on Mt. Everest. But one of them wouldn’t make it back down.
They reached Camp 3 after days of arduous climbing at an oxygen-starved altitude of 23,700 feet. A jet stream, a flood of wind, was howling only 3,000 feet above the camp and reaching life-threatening speeds of 350 mph. The team got little sleep. Instead, they spent the night holding their tents together in the vicious wind. House-sized chunks of ice were shifting, with one large piece collapsing uncomfortably near the camp.
The team included Himalayan veteran Peter Athans, who holds a record for six Everest summits; Peter Hillary, son of famed alpinist Sir Edmund Hillary, who along with Sherpa guide Tenzing Norgay became the first person to reach the world’s highest peak; Brent Bishop, who is also following in his father’s footsteps; and Peter Ligate, a 38-year-old business manager and experienced climber. They waited out the weather at Camp 3.
After three days at Camp 3, the conditions worsening, the team decided to turn back. Ligate started down a steep route to Camp 2. Suddenly, he stumbled, missing a clip into the safety line. Ligate careened down the mountain’s blue ice and fell 600 feet to his death in a crevasse.
Even an experienced mountaineer can lose concentration, with disastrous consequences. In the blink of an eye, a fall can change everything, whether you’re climbing a mountain or climbing a ladder. But here’s how you can stay safe.
*Stay Clean. Clutter and poor housekeeping lead directly to tripping hazards and falls.
*Keep walking surfaces safe. Make sure walking surfaces are inspected, cleared, marked and maintained.
*Wear proper shoes. Inspect boots regularly, especially the soles, which can become slick.
*Use ladders safely. Make sure ladders are properly secured. Don’t overreach. Inspect ladders regularly.
*Store safely. Don’t store heavy or awkward items above peoples reach.
Don’t Let a Fall…Trip Up Your Future
*Copyright 2009 Harkins Safety
“A Dangerous Time !”
Can you think of a time when you knowingly put yourself in a life-threatening situation? Most of us would say, “No way!” But it happens more than you might think. Here’s just one example from the headlines.
During a ten-day period at a beach resort, the red “No Swimming” flags were flying every day, and lifeguards warned swimmers but many ignored warnings. Some even argued, “We came here to swim and we’re going to swim!”
In this one incident, five swimmers were caught in the same rip current. Three of them made it to shore, but a 21 year old man and a 16 year old girl he tried to rescue both drowned. The newspaper account said, ”There have been five drowned this summer, four of them in the past week. More than 700 swimmers were pulled from the water between Aug. 1 and 10 while a storm system spun off the coast, churning surf and creating rip currents.”
Why do people ignore warnings and put themselves at risk? Maybe they get caught up in the moment. Maybe they simply forget. Maybe they think they’re just taking a shortcut. Whatever the reason, we as professionals know better. We know that safety is essential and demands our constant attention.
*Your brain is your best safety tool. Safety takes brainpower, practice and lots of common sense. The most dangerous time for us is just before we make a move. Don’t make hasty decisions that could put you and your coworkers at risk. Taking a moment to think first before you act is what it takes to stay safe on and off the job.
*Knowing the right way to do the job is the first step to safety. Warning flags, safety rules and common sense point the way to a safe, satisfying work life—heed them. These rules and guidelines are as much a part of your job as creating the products and services your company sells.
*Don’t take chances. Sometimes people take chances out of boredom or frustration and knowingly do something dangerous on or off the job. It just isn’t worth the risk. Think and stay aware on the job, so that all your actions are safe ones. One moment of inattentiveness can cause you to take a chance that results in a tragic, avoidable accident. Ask yourself this important question, “Is what I’m about to do safe?”
IS WHAT YOU’RE ABOUT TO DO SAFE?
*Copyright 2003 Harkins Safety
“The Road To Safety”
Everyone asked, “How could anyone make such a terrible mistake?”
Here’s the story. A tragic accident on the reversible High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes in Pittsburgh was a traffic engineer’s nightmare. The reversible HOV lanes were added to Interstate 279 in 1989 to ease rush hour congestion. Not everyone knew how they worked.
In this case, the driver of a car carrying six people to lunch made a wrong turn and wandered onto the expressway when the HOV gates were opened early by mistake. The car was hit head-on by a pickup truck coming in the opposite direction. Five in the car and a passenger in the truck were killed in a fiery crash.
After witnesses came forward, a transportation department employee admitted he opened the entry gates to the reversible lanes before closing the entry gates in the opposite direction. He only realized his mistake when he saw cars coming toward him on the one-way roadway. The highway department employee was fired from his job and later pled guilty to six counts of involuntary manslaughter.
High-speed motor vehicle collisions are so severe they are horrible to comprehend. But like most other accidents, they can be prevented. The right move by any one of the key players in this tragedy would have prevented it. The driver entered a high-speed roadway without knowing where she was going. The driver of the pick-up truck did not look for on-coming traffic because at that time of day he thought he had the right of way. The accident could not have happened if the highway department employee had done his job by the book.
Behind the wheel of your car or on-the-job, there’s only one way-the safe way.
*Know and follow all safety rules. They are for your protection. These rules, combined with your common sense, can help you avoid most if not all accidents.
*Suggest safer work practices. You’re the one doing the job. If you know a safer way to get it done, suggest it to your supervisor. He or she will appreciate your initiative , and you may spare yourself or your coworker from an accident.
*Keep a safety attitude. Approach every job with fresh eyes and stay alert to possible hazards. Stay focused on the task at hand. Involve your coworkers in safety. And always keep your emotions in check on the job.
THERE’S ONLY ONE WAY THE SAFE WAY
*Copyright 2003 Harkins Safety
“Work Your Plan”
“Man makes or mars an organization.” So said B.C. Forbes, legendary founder of Forbes magazine, father to flamboyant tycoon Malcolm Forbes, and grandfather to current Forbes magazine editor and former presidential candidate Steve Forbes. B.C. Forbes was convinced that looking at an organization’s top man-the “head knocker,” as he called him-told you more about the business than the balance sheet ever could. Was he right? Here’s the story.
Born in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, in 1880, B.C. Forbes worked as a reporter and writer for a local newspaper. In 1901, he moved to Johannesburg, South Africa, to start up the Rand Daily Main newspaper. Three years later, he immigrated to the United Sates, where he worked as a writer and editor at the Journal of Commerce. After a few other jobs as a financial journalist, Forbes became disenchanted with the dry numbers of business and finance.
So in September 1917, Forbes magazine was born. B.C. Forbes devoted his new publication to doers, telling the stories of the people who ran successful companies and capturing the human side of business and finance. Forbes said “The most notable winners usually encountered heartbreaking obstacles-they won because they refused to become discouraged by their defeats.”
That first issue of Forbes profiled Charles Mitchell, who formed National City; notorious speculator and stock manipulator Jay Gould; and oil baron John D. Rockefeller, then the richest man in the world. Beyond the profiles, there were pages of investment analysis, but also poetry and fiction, even a section on women in business, a first for a business magazine.
Forbes magazine and its namesake B.C. Forbes clearly succeeded. Part showman and part businessman like his son Malcolm, B.C. Forbes was known for his inspirational quotes. He famously said, “Real riches are the riches possessed inside.” But B.C. Forbes was above all practical, and his most widely quoted sentiment is “Plan your work and work your plan”—good advice for business and for safety.
So before you start any job, take time to lay out your plan. Check job references, such as pre-job briefs, SDSs, and safety alerts. Ask yourself: What could go wrong? What could cause a fire or a spill? Could someone trip and fall? What are the hazards? Remember, safety is as much a part of your job as the tools you use.
Then once you start the job, follow your plan—work calmly and intelligently until it’s completed.
For Safety’s Sake…Plan Your Work, Work Your Plan
*Copyright 2004 Harkins Safety