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A Message About Emergency Preparedness

Be Prepared

It’s as American as apple pie.  A rite of passage for thousands of boys and girls and a source of pride for every parent.  It’s scouting.

You probably know the Boy Scout’s motto.  You may even know that scouting began in the U.S. in 1910.  But do you know why scouting was developed?

It’s a fascinating part of the scouting story.  In the early 1900s, with the Industrial Revolution, thousands migrated from rural areas to our nation’s cities.  This change brought concerns that young people, men in particular, were no longer learning patriotism, individualism and self-reliance—important values of American life.

In 1909, Chicago publisher W.D. Boyce while visiting London, England learned about scouting, which began in Britain around 1907.  Impressed with the idea, upon his return, Boyce started the Boy Scouts of America.

The aims of scouting remain to this day: character development, citizenship training and personal fitness.  Out of these values come the familiar Boy Scout’s motto—Be Prepared.

Scouting grew at a stunning pace.  Today there are 2,938,698 youth who are scouts, 1,146,130 leaders and 122,582 scouting units, which are Scouting organizations sponsored by a community, across the country.

Scouts earn merit badges in virtually every endeavor imaginable, from archery to fishing, wilderness survival to motor boating. They want to learn as much as they can so that, regardless of the situation, they will always be prepared.

Being prepared is good for us too.  If there were ever a fire, an explosion, a flood or even a terrorist attack, it would be invaluable—and possibly even lifesaving –for each and every one of us to be prepared.

And the best way to do that is to know our emergency plan inside and out.  Know where fire extinguishers are, for example.  Know the evacuation routes.  Know the proper emergency response authorities to contact, if necessary.  It’s important.  Because you never know when an emergency might strike.

If you have kids in Scouting, or if you were a Scout yourself, you know that Scouts pledge to “do a good turn daily.” Why not take a page from the Scouting manual and pledge to learn more about safety and emergency preparedness each day. It’s a good policy.  And should an emergency occur, you stay safe because you are prepared and know the right actions to take.



*Copyright 2008 Harkins Safety B-227


A Message About Attitude and Accident Prevention

The Family Business

Imagine a family business that was founded by an idealistic artisan, twice refused huge grants from the federal government and may never complete its one and only project.  Here’s their fascinating story.

In 1948, sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski received a letter from Chief Henry Standing Bear. The letter asked Ziolkowski, who worked on Mount Rushmore, to create a statue of Chief Crazy Horse, a famed Lakota warrior.

Ziolkowski, a self-taught sculptor, accepted the challenge.  He moved his wife and ten children from Connecticut to the Black Hills of South Dakota. Together they built a log cabin at the foot of Thunderhead Mountain, the structure out of which the stature would be carved. The family then built a 741-step wooden staircase to the top of the mountain and Ziolkowski inserted four sticks of dynamite.  Those 10 tons of granite would be the first of millions to come.

As work continued, he twice refused $10 million grants from the federal government because he feared that taking the money would interfere with his goal of creating a cultural memorial that honors all North American Indians.

The monument has been in progress for over 60 years and is still far from completion. An amazing 8.5 million tons of granite having been removed so far.

When completed, the statue will show Crazy Horse atop his steed with his outstretched arm pointing to the horizon.  It will be fully three-dimensional, sculpted entirely out of the mountain.  It will be so large that Mount Rushmore will fit on Crazy Horse’s arm.  A five-room house will fit inside the nostril of the warrior’s horse.  It will be taller than the Washington Monument and nearly twice as big as the Statue of Liberty.

It is truly a monumental project. While we probably wouldn’t go to these lengths even for a family business, it’s still good to reflect on how important our families are to our jobs and our happiness. That’s why it’s vital to work safely every day.  We have to remember that we’re not just working for ourselves, but for our families who love and depend on us.  In fact, our families are the reason why we work so hard every day.

Today, Ziolkowski’s family continues the work.  They now own Thunderhead Mountain and the 328 acres on which it sits. They still live at its base.  With drills, dynamite and determination, they are committed to making Ziolkowski’s vision a reality, no matter how difficult it is and no matter how long it takes.

Work Safely

Do it for you

Do it for your family

*Copyright 2008 Harkins Safety B-228


A Message About Teamwork

A Monumental Task

Did you know that the four huge statues of presidents carved out of granite at Mt. Rushmore took 14 years to create and in that time, not one occupational fatality occurred?

The spectacular 60-foot-high granite faces of Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt and Lincoln were blasted out of the top of a mountain that is 1,000 feet long and 400 feet high.  The project started in 1927 and was finished in 1941. The amazing monument cost less than $1 million to create and was paid for by donations and grants from Congress.

The huge monument at Mt. Rushmore grew out of the vision of one man and came into being because he insisted on superb workmanship, safe working conditions and above all, teamwork.

Guton Borglum, the talented sculptor, worked from a plaster model he created in a studio at the site.  He carefully calculated distance between key points on his model, then transferred his measurements to the face of the mountain at a ratio of 12 to 1. Borglum showed his drillers precisely where to drill the holes for carefully measured dynamite charges.  After most of the workman had gone home he blasted the excess stone into the valley below.

Even though the safety equipment was crude in those days, no one was killed on this project.  This was a considerable achievement when compared to the 11 fatalities on the Golden Gate Bridge and 14 on the Empire State Building.  The credit goes to teamwork.

Whether the project is large or small, teamwork is essential.

Communication is key.  You need to know who’s doing what job and when and how they’re doing it.  Stay aware of your coworkers and stay in touch.

Pull together.  We all depend on others to help us get the job done.  Work with your coworkers.  Let them know you’re a team and you’ll be able to count on them when you need some help. Work for the good of the whole crew.

Teamwork—Working Together For Safety

*Copyright 2002 Harkins Safety B152


A Message About Safety, Quality and Productivity

It’s Up to Me!

“If it’s going to be, it’s up to me,” says Robert Schuller, motivational author and one of America’s most beloved ministers.  He should know.  Through faith and positive thinking, he went from preaching at a drive-in to the creation of the magnificent Crystal Cathedral.

Schuller knew all his life that he wanted to be a minister.  In 1950 he fulfilled that dream when the Reformed Church of America ordained him.

As minister of the Ivanhoe Reformed Church in Chicago, Schuller grew the congregation from 30 to 500.  But his dream was “to build a great church for God, a church that would change and save lives, a church dedicated to the creed, ‘Find a need and fill it, find a hurt and heal it’.”

So in 1955, with his wife and just $500 in his pocket, Dr. Schuller went to Garden Grove, California.  He rented the Orange Drive-In Theater and conducted Sunday services from the roof of the snack bar. He believed he would achieve his dream and he did. The Crystal Cathedral opened 25 years later in 1980.  With over 12,000 panes of glass and a sparkling contemporary bell tower, the Crystal Cathedral is an Orange County landmark visible for miles around-proof that Schuller’s positive thinking works.

Through positive thinking, Dr. Schuller was able to take responsibility for his life and create an ideal environment for his work.  Positive thinking has a role in safety too.  Every day on the job, we have the same opportunity to create a workplace that’s safe.  Positive thinking is really about making yourself an agent for your own safety.  When you keep safety in mind you are empowered to make all of your actions safe ones.

Leave nothing to chance when it comes to safety. Wear the protective gear that’s required for your job, read labels and SDSs, follow lock-out/tag-out procedures keep tools and equipment in good working order.  Always adhere to the safety guidelines for your particular job. If you have a question about a job or a suggestion, talk to your supervisor.

Quality and Productivity are also part of your job.  When you approach work with a positive attitude the quality of your work also improves.

When you follow safety procedures, produce quality work and use your time on-the-job efficiently you take an important positive step–one that increases safety, quality and productivity.

Safety, Quality, Productivity…

It’s Up To Me!

*Copyright 2004 Harkins Safety B184


A Message About Accident Prevention, Attitude & Safety Meetings

The Power of the Word

Some of the most timeless words ever uttered in a speech by an American president were inspired by a poem with an illustrious history of its own.

In Hollywood in the 1940s, movie stars came to Kathryn Kay for the poems she wrote for special occasions.  One day, the wife of Hobart Bosworth, a well-known movie star, bought a copy of Kay’s book If the Shoe Fits and immediately fell in love with the patriotic poem Thanksgiving Prayer.

The poem was read on the radio by Mrs. Bosworth’s famous husband on Thanksgiving Day, 1941.  The occasion was the 150th anniversary of the State of New Jersey’s ratification of the Bill of Rights.

Later Mrs. Bosworth personally presented a framed copy of the poem to President and Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt in appreciation of Eleanor Roosevelt’s tireless efforts to promote the cultural arts.

The Bosworth’s also had the poem cast in a bronze plaque, which was to be presented at a Southern California Bill of Rights commemoration on December 7, 1941. But early that morning the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.

Years later, after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Kathryn Kay got a call from Washington lobbyist Charles Siems.  He said President Kennedy had heard the 1941 radio broadcast of the poem upon his graduation from Harvard and was greatly moved by it, especially the final line: “God, help me make America as proud that I am hers—as I am proud and grateful she is mine.” Some 20 years later, that sentiment surfaced in Kennedy’s mind. He expressed it in some of the most memorable words ever uttered in one of the most famous speeches in American history: “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”

Just as President’s Kennedy’s words held the power to inspire a nation, there’s one word that should inspire you because your happiness and your livelihood depend on it.  That word is “safety.”

A Word to the Wise: Safety

* Copyright 2002 Harkins Safety (B158)


A Message About Safety Rules & Accident Prevention

Comets and You

A brilliant comet appeared over England in the spring of 1682.  Edmund Halley, a young and respected English astronomer suspected that this comet was not a new one and searched primitive records of stars and planets to prove it.  In 1705 Halley predicted, by combining Newton’s newly formulated laws of motion and old records kept over centuries that the comet seen in 1531, 1607 and 1682 would return in 1758. Halley calculated that the comet had been appearing about every 75 years.  The next appearance will be around 2061.

Slowly the scientific community accepted the Newton/Halley reasoning but neither man lived to see the prediction finally proved on Christmas Day, 1758.

When Halley’s Comet last approached the Earth in 1986, the United States and Russia each sent spacecraft to probe in and around it.  When we saw the footage from these probes on television, we were fascinated.

The reaction to comets in ancient times was quite different.  Then astrologers and royal advisors rushed to provide whatever predictions would please their masters.  Common folk hid their children and valuables, in fear of destruction by the “demon” in the sky.  By combining old records with new principles, Edmund Halley took the superstition out of comets.

Similarly, safety rules and procedures are your tools to demystify accidents. Safety rules and procedures work because they’re based on experience and research. Studies on how others have been injured in the past are designed to prevent a reoccurrence.  An accident is not a random occurrence anymore than a comet is a demon in the sky.

Sound thinking about your safety will convince you that you should know and use all the tools important to your job.  Including safety rules and safe procedures. With continual practice, they too will become part of your job.

Chances of disaster from a comet striking the earth are about fifteen million to one. You improve your chances of avoiding serious injury every day when you know and follow safe procedure.  Remember


  • Copyright 1999 Harkins Safety (B113)


A Message About Eye Protection and P.P.E.

The Long View

There’s nothing unusual about a telescope.  They’re in observatories and backyards across the country.  But a telescope in space-now, that was something to talk about.  And in the late 70s they did.  Here’s the story of the telescope in space and how it almost didn’t happen.

The Hubble Space Telescope is named after American astronomer Edwin Hubble, and its purpose is to get an up-close-and-personal look at the quasars, pixars , quarks and other lights in the sky. Because the Hubble is in space-beyond the earth’s atmosphere-it can take extremely detailed pictures with no background, giving astronomers a better look at the stars than ever before. These are the most inclusive images ever produced of some of the most distant objects in the galaxy.

The Hubble is the only telescope designed to be serviced and maintained in space.  Planned repairs and maintenance will allow it to stay in operation until at least 2013, when its successor, the James Webb Space Telescope, is set to be launched.

But the Hubble almost never happened.  The idea for a space telescope was proposed in the 1940s, and the Hubble was funded in the 1970s, but it wasn’t launched until 1990. Throughout there were technical glitches and budget problems.  In 1986, the launch of the Hubble seemed possible, but the Challenger space shuttle disaster brought the space program to a screeching halt. When the Hubble finally was launched, scientists found that its mirror had been ground incorrectly-a problem fixed by an in-space servicing mission in 1993.  Had the problems not been overcome, the world would never have seen the incredible images the Hubble telescope has produced.

Are you letting “problems” with PPE stop you from protecting your precious eyesight on the job? Most eye injuries occur because workers aren’t aware of potential hazards, don’t use protective eye wear, or use the wrong type. Flying chips or particles, electrical arcing or sparks, chemical gases, light from welding and other harmful sources, chemicals, molten metals, dusts and swinging objects. They are all hazards that require protection.

So, first know which is the right eye protection for the job you are doing and the hazards you will encounter.  If you wear prescription glasses, make sure your protective eye wear fits properly over them.  Second, inspect your PPE before each use.  To be effective, it must be in good condition and fit well.   Third, keep your protective eye wear clean and store it properly.

Remember, take the long view and protect your eyesight for a lifetime of amazing and awe-inspiring sights.


*Copyright 2008 Harkins Safety B-247



A Message About Hearing Protection and P.P.E.

Symphony of Silence

“My noblest faculty has greatly deteriorated.”

“How sad is my lot, I must avoid all things dear to me.”

“I am resolved to rise above every obstacle, but how will it be possible.”

That is what the great composer Beethoven wrote to his close friends when his deafness became more and more inevitable.

“For two years, I have avoided almost all social gatherings.  Often I can scarcely hear someone speaking, the tones yes but not the words.”

As a composer who devoted his life to music, Beethoven tried to keep his affliction a secret. He tried all kinds of remedies-hot baths, cold baths, almond oil, tonics.  Nothing helped.  Unfortunately in Beethoven’s time, no hearing specialist existed. The doctors could only guess as to what was causing the ailment.

Beethoven died in 1827, having lived most of his life in either partial or complete deafness.  Was deafness caused by syphilis, common at that time; was it caused by a virus; or was it caused by the loudness of the music he surrounded himself with? The doctors didn’t know.

Today we know a lot more about deafness.  We know that exposure to loud noise over time can harm your hearing.  Don’t take a chance.  Always wear the right hearing protection every time you must enter or work in a noisy environment.

Improvised hearing protection doesn’t work.  Putting cotton in your ears or wearing headphones won’t protect you from noise.  You need to use approved hearing protection.

The type of hearing protection you use depends on the level of noise exposure.  Earmuffs give you the greatest protection available from excessive noise.  Another choice is earplugs.  They seal the ear canal and come in a variety of sizes. Yet another choice is canal caps. These are soft pads on a headband and they seal the entrance to the ear canal.  Make sure you use the proper hearing protection and make sure you get a good fit for maximum protection.

Noise destroys your ability to enjoy the wonderful sounds of life.  Beethoven suffered from long periods of horrible depression because of his deafness.  Even though he gave the world some of its most beloved music, he was dejected and miserable for most of his life.  Don’t risk your hearing.  The simple act of using the right hearing protection on the job will ensure that you can hear all that life has to offer for many years to come.



*Copyright 2005 Harkins Safety B-203


A Message About Respirator Safety and Personal Protective Gear (PPE)

Free Diving

Take a deep breath.  Now hold it as long as you can underwater.  That’s the essence of free diving.  It’s one of the new breed of extreme sports—filled with challenges and dangers.  But this extreme sport is actually over 2,000 years old.

The pearl divers of ancient Japan would dive underwater to great depths for minutes on end searching for pearls.  Ama divers, as they were called, didn’t have the benefits of scuba tanks, so they trained their bodies and minds to go for long periods without breath.

Free divers today do much the same.  As a modern competitive sport, free diving is the invention of the Bottom Scratchers, a dive club in San Diego that started in the 30s.  But what’s really fascinating is the variety of free diving competitions.

There’s underwater rugby, hockey and spear fishing, even synchronized underwater swimming and so-called mermaid shows.  The premier free diving sport, though is breath-hold diving .  In this sport, highly trained competitors attempt great depths on a single breath.

These elite athletes train their bodies to adapt.  The pulse rate drops.  Blood vessels shrink as blood rushes to the heart and lungs. And the spleen releases oxygen rich red blood cells.  Free divers start with a one-minute breath hold while at rest and progress to holding the breath while walking. Gradually they test themselves underwater at greater and greater depths.  The body is a marvel of adaptation and free divers make use of that in their training.

While training may help divers increase lung capacity, no amount of physical training can protect your lungs from the chemicals, dust particles and other hazardous inhalants that we might encounter on the job. That’s why it is crucial to choose the right respirator when one is called for, make sure it fits properly, and be sure to store it properly for optimum protection.

Workers sometimes make the mistake of going without a respirator, thinking that they will be able to smell airborne hazards. But the fact is, many dangerous and even deadly chemicals are odorless.  If you think that your nose always knows, you might make a tragic mistake.

Why take the risk?  Let’s leave life threatening exploits to the daredevils. On the job, our priority is safety and that means using a respirator.  Arguing otherwise is just wasting your breath.

Save Your Breath…

Keep Your Respirator Ready!

*Copyright 2008   Harkins Safety  (B-241)


A Message About Machine Guards, Lock Out – Tag Out and PPE

Pack A Punch

Muhammed Ali, Joe Frazer, October 1, 1975.  The Philippine Coliseum. It was the greatest fight of all time.  It was the Thrilla in Manilla.

Ali had been taunting Frazer and calling him names.  Each had defeated the other once before, Frazer winning in 1971 and Ali in 1973.  They were angry. By 10:45 a.m., 28,000 spectators had filled the Coliseum and the battle was on.

Ali came out flat-footed, no dancing, confident of victory. He swung powerfully, and Frazer’s legs buckled three times in the first round.  By the third round, Frazer was twice badly shaken, his head snapping back from Ali’s long lefts.

But in the fourth, Frazer seemed to find his range.  He pummeled Ali.  Ali spent the fifth round in his own corner taking Frazer’s body shots.  By the sixth, Frazer was in close, pounding Ali’s body and unleashing his left hook on Ali’s head.  Two of them caught Ali’s jaw, staggering him.  Frazer beat on Ali for four more rounds.  At the end of the tenth, they were even.  Then in the eleventh, Frazer blasted Ali with blow after blow.  It looked like the end.

But Ali dug down.  He tagged Frazer with long right punches until blood trickled from Frazer’s mouth and bumps rose above his eyes. He sent Frazer’s mouthpiece flying in the thirteenth and nearly KO’ed him with a snapping right.  In the fourteenth, Ali delivered nine straight right punches to Frazer’s head.  When the bell sounded for the fifteenth Frazer didn’t answer.  His manager told him, “Sit down, son. It’s all over. No one will ever forget what you did here today.”

Ali had retained his title and won the toughest fight of his life.  “It was like death,” he said. “The closest thing to dying that I know of.”

Professional boxers know never to let their guard down.  On the job, you need to do the same; an unguarded moment can result in an injury.  That’s why, when you’re working with machines, you need to be extra cautious.  They pack a punch, here’s how to block it:

*Always use machine guards, and never reach over or around them.

*Never reach blindly into a machine-you could reach an energized part.

*Keep watches, belts, necklaces and other conductive items away from machinery.

*Always wear the right PPE.

*Perform frequent safety checks.

*Lock out/tag out for repairs or maintenance.

*Stay alert-a deadly punch can come out of nowhere.

Machines Can Pack a Punch

*Copyright 2004  Harkins Safety (B-180)