Tools of the Trade
A brilliant craftsman, possessed of a singular ability never matched before or since, produced the world’s most sought after musical instruments. Can you guess his name? Here’s a hint: he created his musical masterpieces over 300 years ago!
He is the maker of the famed Stradivarius violins, Antonio Stradivari. But do you know what made Stradivari the master craftsman of the ages?
Maybe it was his training. Born in Cremona, Italy, he apprenticed with noted instrument maker Nicolo Amati. As a testament to his skill, Stradivari was permitted to make instruments under his own label while still a student.
Or perhaps it was the wood Stradivari chose for his instruments. It is said that he scoured the forests for the perfect tree with the right look and feel and most important the right tone when the master tapped it while listening with his discerning ear.
Or maybe it was the tools he used that made Stradivari the best. As a European Master, Stradivari used only hand tools-a dizzying variety of chisels, gouges, planes, knives, saws and scrapers in precisely graduated sizes. Some remove large curls of wood as the craftsman rough-cuts and shaves, while others slice away the smallest slivers in precise carving actions. Again and again, Stradivari would “tap tune” the instrument and select the right tool to remove tiny sections of wood until the tone was perfect.
The tools themselves are works of art, their handles worn by the master’s grasp over a lifetime of dedication. They are preserved to this day in the Stradivarian Museum in Cremona, Italy.
Of course the tools that we use in our daily work may not be the implements of the artisan, but they are no less important to getting the job done. That’s why we should always treat them with respect, using them only for their intended application. We should always keep them well maintained and in good working order. Doing so ensures our safety and the effectiveness of the tool itself, a win-win situation that makes our work easier.
While the work of master Stradivari remains a mystery- no one knows for certain why his violins produce the sweetest music-one thing is sure. The tools we use save time and effort, but they do presents hazards. Using them properly helps secure our safety, so that at the end of the day, we can leave work whistling a carefree tune.
Choose the Right Tool….
Use it the Right Way
*Copyright 2008 Harkins Safety B-232
Eagle Eye on Safety
There’s a very good reason people use the phrase “eagle eye” to describe someone who pays close attention to details. It’s because eagles have phenomenal eyesight, they never miss a thing.
An eagle can spot a rabbit moving almost a full mile away. If that’s not amazing enough, an eagle flying at an altitude of 1,000 feet over open country can spot prey over an area of almost three square miles! An eagle’s vision is so sharp that it can see fish in the water from several hundred feet above while soaring overhead.
What makes the eagle’s eyesight so acute? One reason is the fact that an eagle’s eyes have two centers of focus. This unique dual-focus enables the eagle to see objects in front as well objects on the side at the same time. Like humans, eagles can see in color and their eyes are almost the same size as ours, but their eyesight is four times sharper than a human’s with perfect vision. The iris of an eagle’s eye is also unique; it changes over time from dark brown to a yellow very similar to the color of its beak.
Once an eagle spots his prey, he approaches in a shallow, relaxed glide. Then in a flash, he dives, snatching the unsuspecting rabbit, rodent or fish in his powerful talons. An expert flier, the eagle can soar to altitudes of 10,000 feet and achieve speeds of 30 to 35 miles per hour. Yet surprisingly, about 40 percent of baby eagles do not survive their first flight. Apparently, despite their natural instincts, becoming an expert hunter and flier takes practice and training.
It’s the same for you on the job. Working safely takes practice and training, along with constant attention.
Remember, you don’t have the eagle’s sharp eyesight, but you still have to always keep a sharp eye for hazards. Attention is prevention. Staying aware, hour after hour, day after day, is one of your best tools for preventing accidents. But that alone isn’t enough.
You have specific safety rules, defined for your work site, your job and your industry. To stay safe, you have to learn the rules, know them and follow them. If you face a potentially unsafe situation, always ask your supervisor before you do anything. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Being safe also means making sure you have the right tool for the job, using the right personal protective equipment to prevent injuries and never, ever taking shortcuts.
Even though you don’t have the eagle’s ability to see in two directions at the same time, you have to act as if you have eyes in the back of your head when it comes to spotting and avoiding hazards-so YOU don’t become an endangered species.
You are Responsible, Do Your Best, Do it Safely
* Copyright 2005 Harkins Safety B-145