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A Message About Incident, Accident Prevention

Right Person, Right Place

Have you ever wondered if you would know what to do if you found yourself right in the middle of a life-threatening accident scene? Gary Myers, the captain of a 54-foot charter fishing boat, was one of the three boaters who knew what to do and just happened to be in the right place at the right time.

Here’s the story. Gary was deep sea fishing in the Gulf stream about 40 miles off the North Carolina coast when he first noticed the Navy F-14 Tomcat. “It looked like the pilot was diving and doing a barrel roll and I just started watching,” Meyers said. “Then it looked like the plane went into a flat spin and about that time I saw two men eject.”

The aviators, members of Fighter Squadron 102, based at Oceana Naval Air Station in Virginia Beach, Virginia, were practicing dogfight maneuvers as part of a routine training mission.

The $30 million fighter plane was still in one piece when Myers saw it hit the water about three miles from his boat. The small boat operators reacted quickly. The commercial fisherman and the pleasure boat operator were the first to reach the two Navy fliers and pulled them out of the water almost immediately. The two fliers were transferred to Myers’ larger boat so they could be airlifted to a Navy hospital by helicopter.

Later the pilot said the fishermen were a welcome sight. If the three small boats had not been in the right place, or if Myers, the fisherman or the pleasure boat operator had failed to take swift action, the two Navy men might well have been lost in the Atlantic.

Safety on land, at sea and in the air requires every individual to take responsibility for his or her own safety and the safety of others. If we know how to work safely, follow the rules and look out for each other, we can make our work place an injury free environment.

The Navy pilot and his crewman were rescued because they followed their own safety procedures and others were close by who knew what to do. Take your safety training, work rules and your personal protective equipment seriously. You can stay incident-free if you follow standard practices and use your safety know-how every day.

The best way to avoid the pain and suffering of an injury is to remember that safety depends on you. Only you can do your job the safe way. Follow all safe work procedures that apply to your job. Observe all safety rules. Keep alert to avoid hazards at work, at home and on the road.


It’s Your Responsibility

*Copyright 2005 Harkins Safety B197


A Message About Preventing Strains, Sprains and Safe Lifting

Weigh In On Safety

Can you think of an athletic contest that requires participants to compete barefoot, naked to the waist and begins with a ritual of pounding the floor, tossing salt and a staring match? While the sport is not well-known in North America, the highly specialized form of Japanese Sumo wrestling uses all of these characteristics as part of a pre-match ritual.

The most notable feature of sumo wrestlers is their weight.  The average champion weighs about 360 pounds, but a few weigh as much as 600.  To achieve this great weight they intentionally eat great quantities of food and practice a form of abdominal development.

Each sumo contest begins with an opening ceremony.  Two opponents enter the ring and after flexing their muscles, scatter handfuls of salt around the ring.  Then they crouch, pound the floor with their fists and engage in a staring match to try to shake their opponent’s confidence.

Their great weight gives the wrestlers a low center of gravity, which helps them propel an adversary out of the ring.  The winner is the one who can throw his opponent down or force him out of the ring. Since there are no weight categories, a smaller wrestler must rely on speed and skill to make up for any difference in size.  A combination of size and agility usually wins.

In our business, we don’t place any premium on size, but we do concentrate on working safely.  Since we can’t call a sumo wrestler to help move heavy objects, we need to use mechanical means and follow the rules for safe lifting to avoid strains. A sumo wrestler never turns his back on his opponent.  We can’t afford to turn our backs on safety. If you know how to lift, you can avoid painful back injuries.

Safe lifting starts with your legs.  The strongest muscles in your body are in your legs.  To lift safely you need to get as close to the object as you can.  Keep your back straight, bend at the knees not the waist, grasp the object with both hands and gradually straighten up.  Hold heavy objects close to your body so your arm and leg muscles do the work, not your back.  Bend at the knees and don’t twist your body when you lift.

Sumos sometimes use this same lifting posture to grasp an opponent around the waist and march him out of the ring. This takes great strength and lots of practice.  Safe lifting and avoiding strains and sprains also takes practice. Remember strains and sprains are preventable.

*Lift with your legs, not your back.

*Carry heavy loads close to your body.

*Avoid twisting.

*Work at waist level when possible, bend and reach within limits.

*Keep tools and equipment in proper working order.

*Watch where you walk.  Make sure your route is clear of tripping hazards.

*Stretch daily to increase flexibility

Stay Aware Strains & Sprains can Happen Anywhere

*Copyright 2003 Harkins Safety B166


A Message About Electrical Safety, Lock Out Tag Out, Choose The Right Tool

A Shocking Undersea Tale B-168

Did you know that the South American electric eel can grow to five feet long, weigh as much as 40 pounds and produce an electrical discharge that can stun a diver?

It’s a fact! The South American eel is not really an eel at all but a true fish that is related to the carp.  It has three electric organs: a small one at the tip of its tail used for navigation and another small one used as a trigger for the third blockbuster organ that produces the lightning-like discharge that kills its prey.

This strange creature, one of more than 200 species of fish, uses electricity by generating and discharging currents either in bursts or steady electric fields around its body. Depending on the species, they may use this energy to find and attack their prey, for defense or for communication and navigation.

These skates, rays, eels and other unusual denizens of the deep live and die by the effectiveness of their in-house batteries.  Scientists have discovered that sharks, porpoises and some other species have extremely sensitive electric receptors that help them detect and avoid their high- powered salt-water neighbors.

Just like the receptors that protect sharks against the South American eel, we have our own systems in place to keep electricity where it belongs.

*Always lock out and tag out. We have lock out systems that are virtually foolproof when everyone follows the proper procedure. Disregarding these systems can lead to injuries and fatalities.

*Look before you reach.  You might not see energized parts, so don’t reach into machinery.  Make sure there is adequate lightning and scan the area carefully before you put your hands there.

*Use protective shields, barriers and insulating materials.  These safety precautions can help prevent accidental contact that could result in tragedy.

*Check power tools. Don’t use power tools with broken plugs or defective insulation and always make sure tools are properly grounded before you use them.

*Watch out for water. Never use electrical equipment or tools in a wet environment without the proper protection or an insulating mat.

Electricity can strike in a flash! Beware!

You risk shock, burns, explosions and fire.

*Copyright 2003 Harkins Safety (B168)


A Message About Lifting Properly and Back Safety, Ergonomics

Power Lift

He was a big Russian bear of a man, the greatest super heavyweight power lifter of all time who used equal measures of brawn and brain to set 80 world records and 81 Soviet records, and to win two Olympic gold medals. His name was Vasily  Ivanovich Alekseyev.

Born in 1942 in the village of Pokroveo Shishkino, Russia. Alekseyev was the son of a lumberjack. At age 12, he began lifting logs for exercise and at 14 began wrestling the other lumberjacks for sport and winning.

At 19, already 6 feet tall and 198 pounds, he was introduced to weights and began lifting competitively. Nine years later, he burst into the limelight by setting four world records. He trained without a coach, devising his own strategy through trial and error. It made him a legend in lifting.

He was the first weightlifter to exceed 1,322 pounds for a three-lift total in the clean and jerk, snatch and clean and press. He was also the first to lift 500 pounds in the clean and jerk lift.

His Olympic debut at the Munich Games in 1972, Alekseyev won gold. He did so again at the Montreal Games in 1976.

“When I am ready to lift,” Alekeseyev once said ”I visualize the moment when my arms will lift straight into the air with the weight moving toward the sky.” Lifting on the job involves mind and body working together, too. Before you lift, think through the proper way to do it.

Remember always….

*Stretch gently beforehand to warm up.

*Lift or carry only what you can realistically handle.

*Lift with your legs not your back and never twist.

*Carry the load close to your body to reduce strain.

*Check with your safety supervisor for more tips.

Alekseyev reached many goals in his career bur one eluded him. 100 world records. He probably would have reached this goal too if the press, one of his best lifts, had not been eliminated from competition in 1972.

While your back may never need to endure a 500 pound power lift, it does work hard for you every day. Why not make it your goal to create a record of lifting safely? Being smart about back safety will keep your back healthy and pain free. Like Alekseyev, staying fit and lifting smart will ensure that you can stay active for years to come. Whether your event is golf, gardening or grandchildren, the way to win the gold is safety.


Keep It Healthy & Pain Free

*Copyright 2007 Harkins Safety  (B212)


A Message About Eliminating Hazards And Preventing Accidents

The America’s Cup

It began in 1841, a full 45 years before the Modern Olympics. It attracts the top sailors and yacht designers from around the world. It’s named after the first yacht to win the trophy, the schooner America.

Yes, the America’s Cup is the biggest, most famous yacht race in the world-the Super Bowl and World Series of sailing all in one-with a fascinating history. In 1851, the schooner America raced 15 yachts around the Isle of Wight near Great Britain, and the America won. Queen Victoria asked who was second. The reply? “There is no second, your Majesty.”

Thus the lore of the America’s Cup was born. The British, stung by the loss, tried to win back the trophy, but the New York Yacht Club remained unbeaten for 25 challenges over 113 years, the longest winning streak in sailing’s history.

One of the most famous challengers was Scottish tea baron Sir Thomas Lipton, who attempted five unsuccessful challenges between 1899 and 1930, all in yachts named Shamrock. After World War II, the New York Yacht Club retained its winning streak in eight more races, from 1958 to 1980. But in 1983, the Australia II won easily over Dennis Connor’s Star & Stripes. Disappointed but unbowed, Connor returned with a newly designed boat, a new race plan and renewed confidence. In 1983, he prevailed and returned the cup to the New York Yacht Club.

By refusing to be sidetracked and keeping his eyes on the prize. Dennis Connor came back a winner. When we’re charting our course to safety, we need the same determination. Safety is vital to you, your coworkers, your company and your family. That’s why we have to stay alert to hazards–from keeping work areas clean and orderly to eliminating fire hazards to working safely with electricity to lifting and carrying properly. There’s a safe way to do the job and it’s your responsibility to know it. That way, you’re a winner every single day.

Will America be the winner in the upcoming 33rd America’s Cup? Time will tell. The race is scheduled to take place between 2009 and 2011 and promises boats that are bigger, sleeker, lighter and faster than ever. But one thing’s for sure—just as the captain and crew need to train, plan and prepare, we need to do the same on the job to stay safe. Because working safely every day is our idea of smooth sailing.


*Copyright 2008 Harkins Safety  B229


A Message About Safety Rules And Procedures

Stop the Clock

Is it offense or defense that wins football games? Is it a star quarterback? Is it a Hail Mary play that pays off big? Not always. Truth is, sometimes what wins football games is a whole lot less exciting than spectacular plays or long-bomb passes.

Any coach will tell you. What wins football games is clock management. It’s the essence of football strategy.

Players can greatly influence the pace and outcome of a game simply by how they play. For example, they can play more slowly to use more time. This means ball carriers staying in bounds, quarterbacks not throwing incomplete passes and players huddling before every play.

Or teams can play faster when they want to save time on the clock. Ball carriers can get out of bounds once they’ve made their yardage, quarterbacks can throw as soon as possible after the snap and the offense can skip huddles altogether.

Clock management involves lots of other tactics as well. In fact, it’s so important that an entire book has been written about it -called Football Clock Management-and coaches everywhere are studying it.

They’re studying it because they know that every minute of the game is vital. Since games are four 15-minute quarters (plus timeouts and overtime), the hour or more of play is the sum total of all the team’s tactics.

Just as teams manage their time, we too have to take advantage of every minute and every hour in order to stay safe on the job. Safety is your responsibility.

Think about it. It’s up to you to decide to follow safety rules to the letter. It’s up to you to learn the right procedures and follow them. It’s up to you never to take chances or improvise. It’s up to you always to keep your work area clean and orderly. It’s up to you to make sure safety is included in your workday. Doing that takes good time management, just like winning takes good time management by the coach.

A lot of coaches wait until the end of the half before they start thinking about time management. But in reality, it should be on their minds from the very first play of the game.

Don’t wait until there’s an accident before you start thinking about safety. Make it your priority. Make it your first play of the day.




A Message About Identifying Hazards And Risks

A Stunt With a Shark

You’ve heard it in conversation. You’ve probably even said it yourself—someone or something has “jumped the shark.” It’s a common expression, but where did it come from? It’s a fascinating story.

It all began, strangely enough with the popular TV show Happy Days. The show’s first episode aired in January 1974 and the series ran for a full ten years.

Happy Days was pure Americana as it told the story of Midwestern teenager Richie Cunningham, his family and his friends, Potsie Weber and Ralph Malph. But the character who really stood out was Arthur Fonzarelli-The Fonz. Wearing his trademark black leather jacket, the good natured greaser befriends Richie and becomes a friend of the family.

The fateful episode came in the fifth season. In it, the Cunninghams take a vacation to Hollywood with The Fonz. While there, Fonzi accepts a dare to don a pair of water skis and jump over a tank filled with man-eating sharks-while wearing a swimsuit and his black leather jacket of course.

The episode was so contrived and the special effects depicting Fonzie’s jump were so poorly done that it became the low-water mark of the series. As a result, the expression “jump the shark” has come to describe the point at which a sense of routine has set in and quality has begun to decline.

As the now infamous episode shows, complacency can turn up in unexpected places. But when it happens on the job, the consequences are anything but entertaining.

Complacency happens when you think you have all the job experience you need and know all the hazards just because you’ve done a task many times before without getting hurt. That’s dangerous thinking and it leaves you open to injury.

It’s vital to approach every task, no matter how familiar with fresh eyes. Stop and think before you start. Double check the safety procedures. Consider all the possible hazards. As you work, keep your awareness sharp at all times.

After Happy Days jumped the shark, it went on for another five years in decline. But we can’t afford to be in decline on the job. We can’t afford to be complacent, not even for one day, not even in one task. There’s too much at stake—your livelihood, your health, your safety, not to mention your self-respect as a pro. Don’t let your job experience lull you into complacency. Better to bring all your experience to bear on staying safe.


Stay Alert-Make Caution Your Routine

*Copyright 2011 Harkins Safety (B278)


A Message About Accident Prevention & Housekeeping

Good As Gold

It dates back to the Byzantine Empire, but its residual effects were seen in the U.S. as recently as 1971. What is it?

It’s the gold standard, an economic policy as old as civilization itself.

Under the gold standard, the value of money is based on the value of gold. In olden days, money was gold coins, so there was only as much money in circulation as there was gold. In more modern times, paper money represented a value in gold and could be exchanged for gold upon demand.

The United States adopted the gold standard in 1873. Most other countries, including the United Kingdom, used it too. But the U.S. dropped the gold standard in 1933 after the World Wars and The Great Depression. The problem was that the gold standard prevented the U.S. government from deficit spending to finance wars. Some say the gold standard even prolonged The Great Depression because the government couldn’t expand the money supply when it needed to. In 1971 President Richard Nixon put an end to the ability to convert a dollar bill on demand into an equal value of gold.

Still, the gold standard remains controversial. Some say the U.S. should adopt it again as a way to limit federal spending. Others say the gold standard would lead to deflation and put the brakes on economic growth.

Those are the theories. But no matter which side is right, the fact is gold has always been and will always be valuable. Even so, it’s nowhere near as valuable as your safety, something no amount of gold can buy. So here are just a few ways to make sure that you stay safe all day, every day.

*Follow every safety rule and regulation. That’s like money in the bank.

*Never take risks or short cuts.

*Clean up and organize your work area every day. Make it a habit just like putting money into your savings account.

*Stay alert to potential hazards and always report unsafe conditions and near misses, so they can be corrected.

*Watch out for fire hazards.

These are just a few of the ways to work safely. There are many more. Take the time to learn all you can about safety. That knowledge is precious because you are a vital part of our team and your safety is worth everything.

In fact, it’s priceless. Always strive for zero injuries, zero accidents and zero near misses. That’s our gold standard.


*COPYRIGHT 2010 Harkins Safety (B273)


A Message About Housekeeping Safety And Family Values

Your Family Tree

If you’ve ever wondered what country your ancestors came from, what your family name means or who makes up your family tree, then you have an interest in genealogy. It’s a fascinating world filled with stories and characters, and it’s all about you! Here are a few tips to get started.

To uncover your family history, you can start by looking through your attic and basement to gather everything you can find-papers, photos, documents, family heirlooms and so on. This alone will reveal a great deal.

You can also interview your relatives, asking questions about their childhood, their jobs and their activities. A good approach is to ask a few general questions and just let the person talk. Your interest will flatter them and chances are you’ll hear spellbinding stories of eccentric characters, upstanding citizens and maybe even a few scoundrels. It’s all part of the fun because this is your story, the history of your family, a history that you and your own family are living right now.

Another way to trace your family history is to take one surname, or last name and focus your research on it. You can do searches on the Internet. You can visit the Family History Center in your city. You can find wills, birth, death and marriage records, land deeds, immigration records and all kinds of documents in local government offices, courthouses and libraries.

Once you’ve collected plenty of information, you can start building your family tree. A good way to do this is to begin listing your ancestors on a family tree chart, which you can get on the Internet or perhaps at your local library.

It’s all of value, just like your safety on the job.

As you learn more about your family history, you’ll realize the importance of your role. No one but you can play your part in the ongoing story of your family, so make it a long and happy one by always staying alert and safe on the job. Safety is a family value. Don’t work carelessly or take risks, instead think of your family and always…

*Follow all safety rules to the letter. They are there for your protection.

*Keep your work area clean. Slips, trips and falls can cause devastating injuries.

*Take responsibility to prevent fires. They injure and kill workers each year.

*Lock out and tag out. Unchecked electricity can be deadly.

These are just some smart safety strategies you can put into action today. There are many more. Why not take the time to learn them and use them? Remember, you’re doing it for you and your family. Safety is not only a company value and a personal value…


*Copyright 2006 Harkins Safety  B215



A Message About Relieving Stress And Teamwork

How To Beat Stress

The driver who cuts you off on your commute. That remark your spouse made last evening. The to-do list as long as your arm. The deadlines. The annoying things your coworkers do sometimes.

These little frustrations and others all add up to stress. Not only does stress take its toll on your health and well being but it might also cause you to lash out at a coworker or worse, do something else you’ll regret later.

That’s why it’s important to know how to keep stress in check and one of the best ways is with meditation. All it takes is a little practice. The payoff is greater calmness, a lighter attitude and more happiness in life. Want to try it? Just follow these simple steps:

*Make time to meditate. Set aside a few minutes a day, morning, afternoon or evening. The important thing is to establish a routine.

*Find a quiet place. Eliminate distractions like TV, radio and interruptions. If you play music, pick something soothing.

*Sit comfortably. A chair will work fine. You don’t have to sit cross-legged on the floor. But don’t slouch. Keep your back straight.

*Consciously relax. This isn’t as hard as it sounds. Just close your eyes slightly and let your breath gently rise and fall. Don’t try to control your breath—just let it happen. As you let go, watch your thoughts as they come into your mind, acknowledge them and then let them float away. Adopt the attitude that you don’t have a care in the world and let that feeling wash over you.

*Sink deeper into silence. As you let yourself relax, you’ll feel yourself becoming calmer and quieter. Let it happen as you explore even deeper relaxation.

While you’re trying meditation, why not bring your new-found calmness to your work? Don’t let petty frustrations or annoyances throw you off your game. Keep the big picture–your safety and that of your coworkers–firmly in mind. What’s the point of flying off the handle or simmering with anger? If you have a complaint, express it calmly and constructively and then let it go.

Remember that your coworkers are doing their best, just as you are. Try seeing things from their point of view and you’ll find you have more in common than you think.

Keeping these things in mind, you’ll experience more teamwork, more job satisfaction and more stress-free days. And you can’t beat that.

When You Work With Others…


*Copyright 2008 Harkins Safety  B242