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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


A Message About Working At Height Safety

High Fliers

This was no ordinary high-wire act. Four men standing on a wire 35 feet above the ground, linked together with shoulder bars.  Above them, another pair of men, also linked with shoulder bars. Above them, a woman standing on a chair!

This assemblage-known as the seven-person chair pyramid, would then inch its way across the high wire suspended above the circus floor. It was the most famous high-wire act in the circus.  Do you know who achieved this feat?

None other than the Flying Wallendas.

Karl Wallenda, the patriarch of this daredevil family, was born in Germany in 1905, and by age six, he was already performing in family shows. At 17 Karl began learning high-wire walking and in 1922 he started his own high-wire act.

During one performance in Akron, Ohio, in the thirties Karl and three other performers slipped.  All fell to the wire, but a local paper reported that they did it so gracefully. They seemed to be flying, thus the “Flying Wallendas” were born.

It was in 1947 when Karl Wallenda devised his seven-person chair pyramid act described above, his crowning achievement.  He performed the act successfully until 1962 when a catastrophic fall left Karl’s son paralyzed.

Daredevils may grab our attention, but there are risks. It’s a lesson you should remember when you work at height. Never become comfortable there.  Always think of your safety.

In the years following the catastrophic fall, Karl continued performing his solo “sky walks.” His most famous was a 1,200 foot walk on a high wire 700 feet above the Tallulah Falls Forge in Georgia.

But it was in 1978 when Karl, performing a sky walk in Puerto Rico, fell to his death at age 78. The cause?  Mis-connected guy ropes along the high wire.

When you work at height, don’t take risks with your behavior or equipment.  Remember…

*Use a body harness connected to a fixed anchor by a lanyard, lifeline or deceleration device.  Constantly inspect this equipment for cuts, tears, broken hooks and other problems.

*When needed, strength-tested safety nets should be used.

Working at Height?

Use Proper Fall Protection For the Job

*Copyright 2005 Harkins Safety  B200



A Message About Prevention Of Slips Trips & Falls, Ladder Safety

Three Wheel’in

Is it a car? Is it a motorcycle? Actually it’s a bit of both. One of the most popular vehicles for both families and sporting drivers, the Morgan was a revolution when it first leapt onto the automotive scene.

The Morgan Motor Company was founded in 1909. The first cars the company made were three-wheelers with two wheels in front and one in back. They were powered by motorcycle engines, with a chain driving the rear wheel and they came in two-seat and four-seat models.

Morgan’s first design, introduced at the 1911 Olympia Motor Exhibition, was a two-seater. It came with either a single-cylinder or a twin motorcycle engine, usually a British-made JAP engine.

Since the three-wheelers were classified as motorcycles by the British government, they were exempt from the tax on cars. This made them very attractive to buyers.

Could you imagine driving a three-wheeler? You might think it would be unstable compared to a four-wheeled car, but the three wheels with the two widely spaced wheels at front provided surprising stability.  It’s the same idea as maintaining three points of contact when you’re climbing up or down at work.

When you’re on a ladder, stairs, the steps of a truck or other mobile equipment-anytime you’re climbing up or down-always remember that it takes three for stability. Keep three points of contact-two feet and one hand, or two hands and one foot-with the ladder or steps. That way, you can be sure to avoid any slip and fall accidents and the sometimes serious injuries they cause. Falls from ladders and steps are some of the most common accidents. That’s too bad because they’re easy to avoid, just by keeping three points of contact.

Three points of contact- not a bad idea. It certainly served Morgan well. As their success grew, new models appeared. In 1932 Morgan introduced the F-4, which used a pressed-steel chassis and a four-cylinder Ford side-valve engine.

Even though their production ceased in 1952, Morgan three-wheelers continue to delight car fans. Low-slung Morgans with hopped-up competition engines thrill crowds at vintage car races with their speed and brilliant handling.

Let the Morgan three-wheeler remind you of the stability you gain when you keep three points of contact when climbing up or down. It’s a simple thing, but one that could spare you from a potentially serious injury. Why not get revved up about safety?



*Copyright 2006 Harkins Safety B248


A Message About Hand Safety And Personal Protective Equipment

The Hand-Built Hot Rod

Gleaming chrome. Beautiful custom paint. Tufted leather upholstery. If that’s your idea of a hot rod, stand back and make way for the true, original, hand-built hot rod.

It’s called a rat rod and it harkens back to the early days of hot rodding in the 40s, 50s and 60s when enthusiast had more skill than money and built their creations by themselves…by hand.

Back in those days, hot rodders would find a Model T or a Model A, strip off everything  they  could-fenders, running boards, roof, bumpers- and drop a more powerful engine. It was often a Ford Flathead V8.They’d do all the work themselves. It was about having fun, not about who spent the most money. It was about getting your hands greasy. It was about building something unique.

The rat rod movement today is dedicated to bringing back that hand-built heritage.

In a rat rod, the parts are mismatched, cribbed from a variety of vehicles. The body proudly displays its rust and battle scars. Maltese crosses and skulls sit atop gearshifts in homage to biker and rockabilly cultures. The seats are often bare metal. There’s no carpeting and certainly no luxury-car amenities like air conditioning. An old style beam axle is out front, with leaf springs all around instead of modern coils.

To the uninitiated, a rat rod looks unfinished. That’s because it is. It’s a work in progress, an expression of the owners’ ever-changing vision. It is continuously altered, revised and rebuilt. For a rat rodder, nothing tops having a wrench in your hand.

Think about that the next time you’re on the job, and you’ll realize again why hand safety is so important. You should remind yourself every day to:

*Use gloves when the job calls for it, and choose the proper ones.

*Watch out for pinch points.

*Protect your hands from chemicals and burns.

*Beware of sharp objects like banding, saw blades and edges.

It can be easy to overlook hand safety when you’re on the job and trying to get a project finished. Especially if there is a deadline to meet. But if you allow yourself even a moment of inattention, you’re vulnerable to a potential injury. Why take the chance? It’s just not worth risking damage to your hands. They’re essential tools. Just ask any rat rodder with a hand-built creation and a workbench full of wrenches.


*COPYRIGHT 2012 Harkins Safety (B279)


A Message About Mobile Equipment Safety


The name Bob Chandler might not mean anything to you, but you probably know his creation. It’s the meanest 4×4 truck anywhere.  It’s the show-stopping monster truck Bigfoot.

It all began in the mid 1970’s. Bob Chandler, a construction contractor, used his Ford pick-up truck on the job and for recreation. But when parts broke due to hard use, he often couldn’t find sturdier replacements. That led him to open Midwest Four Wheel Drive & Performance Center.

Partly to promote his new business, Chandler set out to make his truck bigger and stronger, with huge tires and a sky high suspension lift. In 1979, the truck with its jaw-dropping rear-wheel steering, appeared at a Denver car show, its first paid event. Truck pulls in arenas and stadiums soon followed, where Bigfoot was often the star of the show.

At a truck pull in 1981, Chandler tried something just for fun. He drove his beefed up 4×4 over two junk cars. The crowd went wild. He later duplicated the stunt at a stadium show, and in 1983 he began a sponsorship with Ford Motor Company. The legend of Bigfoot was born.

Through the 80s and 90s, Bigfoot got bigger, with massive 66” tires and a 572 cubic inch engine that pumps out 1,500 horsepower and 1,300 foot/pounds of torque. In truck pulls across the country, Bigfoot is always the crowd favorite, especially with Chandler behind the wheel.

Just like the driver of a monster truck, when you’re behind the wheel or at the controls of a forklift, crane, tractor or other mobile equipment. Remember that safety depends on you. Always carry loads properly. Operate the equipment at a safe speed. Keep your view unobstructed. Most important, stay alert for pedestrians—they have the right of way. When you operate mobile equipment, safety is your responsibility, a rule that Chandler follows himself.

Whether he’s racing or doing stunts, Chandler drives to win, but he always considers safety. In 1987, he founded the Monster Truck Racing Association, created solely to promote safety in the monster truck industry. He knows what’s at stake. That’s why he always thinks safety behind the wheel. You should too.

Forklifts and other mobile equipment are great labor saving devices, but with benefits come risks. Minimize and eliminate risk by knowing the rules, by sticking to your safety plan every time you operate equipment and by making safety a driving force every day.



*Copyright 2008 Harkins Safety (B235)


A Message About Holiday Safety, Driving & Slips, Trips And Falls

A Holiday Beauty

Did you know the poinsettia, one of America’s most colorful holiday decorations, is not technically a flower? It’s a fact. The poinsettia is an unusual plant that grows wild in Central America but got its American name from the man who brought it here from Mexico around 1830.

Since the plant normally reaches full bloom during the holiday season, it has been called the “flor de pascua”-Christmas flower by Spanish-speaking people for centuries.

The plant caught the attention of J.R. Poinsett when he was serving as U.S. Ambassador to Mexico. He packed several of the plants in his belongings and brought them to the United States when his tour of duty in Mexico ended.  An enthusiastic gardener and horticulturist, Dr. Poinsett planted this holiday beauty in his garden in Charleston, S.C. The plant flourished and was later named in his honor.

The colorful leaf-like fronds at the top of the poinsettia are not the petals of a flower but are called bracts. They surround a central cluster of tiny bead-like flowers. Since Dr. Poinsett introduced the plant, it has been grown in many parts of North America and changed dramatically by horticulturists. Florists now cultivate white, pink mottled and striped poinsettias. Even so the brilliant red of the first poinsettias remain the favorite.

The timeless beauty of the poinsettia can remind us of the true meaning of the holidays. But we should also remember that the season brings distractions and hazards that demand special safety precautions.

Be aware that hazards increase during the holidays. Poinsettias and other holiday decorations must be kept clear of fireplaces and other sources of heat. Check all decorative lights for signs of frayed cords or exposed wires, and be sure to turn them off before leaving the house or going to bed.

Watch for hazards that could lead to a slip, trip, fall or pinch. Use your on-the –job safety know-how at home to inspect indoor and outdoor decorations for defects. Dispose of used wrappings safely to prevent fire.

Practice safe driving. Driving can be especially dangerous during the holidays because of the extra traffic and extra hours of darkness. Always allow plenty of time for your trip, buckle up and adjust your speed for weather and traffic conditions. Never drink and drive. Keep the joy in your holiday and the spirits under control.

Just as a centuries-old-holiday decoration still fits our modern lifestyle, we need to remember that safety is always in season. Keep the beauty and joy in your holidays this year by following the time-tested rules of accident prevention.


*COPYRIGHT 2005 Harkins Safety B206



A Message About The Holiday Season

Happy Holidays

Did you know that our word “holiday” actually comes to us from ancient times when it meant “holy day”, a time of rest and devotion?

In many cultures and in many lands, the beginning of winter-the winter solstice-is honored as a special holiday. This is the time when earth is the farthest from the sun, resulting in the shortest day of the year. Here are just some of the ways people around the world celebrate the winter solstice.

Some experts say that the Mesopotamians were the first to mark the winter solstice over 4,000 years ago. They took part in a 12-day festival to honor the god Marduk.

The native Americans also celebrated the winter solstice and they marked the event with rock paintings.  The paintings, by the Chumsuh Indians who occupied coastal California thousands of years before the Europeans arrived, still exist.

China and Tibet also observe the beginning of winter with merry-making and feasting in their winter solstice celebration. It’s part of their cultural heritage and has been for centuries.

The early Germans, in their winter solstice celebration, built a stone altar to Hertha, the goddess of domesticity and the home to mark the beginning of winter. When a fire was lit on the altar, Hertha was able to descend on the smoke and foretell the future of those assembled at the feast in her honor.

However you choose to celebrate the winter holidays you’re taking part in a tradition that is as old as the mists of history. At this time of year when we count our blessings and enjoy the company of family and friends, it’s vital to make safety a part of every day. That’s especially important in the days leading up to the holidays. You don’t want to ruin your celebration with an accident because your mind was elsewhere.

So pay extra attention to the safety rules and guidelines that you follow throughout the year. Stay alert, practice good housekeeping and keep an eye out for fire hazards, especially around holiday decorations. Take extra care when traveling home for the holidays. Watch for hazardous road conditions and don’t drink and drive. Also be courteous to other holiday travelers on the road so everyone can enjoy the holidays. Remember staying safe is the best way to keep your holidays happy.