A Safety Message About Fire Safety

Smoke Jumpers

Can you think of a reason why anybody would want to parachute right into the middle of a raging forest fire? Most of us couldn’t.

But for the brave men and women, who work as smokejumpers, skydiving into forest fires is their job-and what’s more, they can’t wait for their next call!

It’s true. Highly trained and experienced, smokejumpers parachute into forest fires as self-sufficient firefighters who can arrive on the scene to provide a quick initial attack on the fire in rugged terrain. Fire-fighting tools, food and water are also dropped by parachute, allowing the smokejumpers to fight fires on their own for up to 48 hours at a stretch.

The smokejumper program began in 1939 as an experiment in the Pacific Northwest and the first fire jump took place in Idaho’s Nez Perce National Forest in 1940. The first woman in the program completed her training in 1981.

Smokejumpers travel all over the country to fight fires and more than 270 smokejumpers work from Forest Service bases located in Idaho, California, Montana, Washington and Oregon.

As you can imagine, smokejumping is extremely hazardous. These highly trained professional must be in tip-top physical condition and must be experts in the specialized field of woodland firefighting.

While the demands on us aren’t as great as those for a smokejumper, we need to take fire every bit as seriously as they do. It’s vital that we always stay alert to possible fire-starters, such as solvents, electricity, mechanical equipment and even clutter in our work areas. And if a fire should occur, make sure you know the right action to take, including the location and proper use of fire extinguishers.

Despite their experience, smokejumpers never let up on their training. They constantly practice the basics, such as aircraft exiting procedures, parachute maneuvering, parachute- landing rolls, cargo retrieval and tree climbing. Some training sites even have virtual training simulators for real-life on the ground practice.

We shouldn’t let up on our training either. A hazard that’s overlooked due to inattention or a fire that rages out of control because someone didn’t take the time to learn the proper procedure can have devastating consequences-including the worst consequences of all, loss of life. Instead, when it comes to fire, we must always stay alert and stay informed to stay safe.


*Copyright 2008 Harkins Safety  B234


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 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





Prevent is for Pros

You’re the coach of an NFL team.  Your players, bruised and tired, have battled it out with heart.  Here’s the situation you’re faced with now.  It’s the fourth quarter, two minutes left in the game.  You’re ahead by 17 points.  But the opposing team has the ball.  And a lot can happen in two minutes.

Naturally, you want to keep players in bounds to keep the clock running.  The other team, of course wants to get out of bounds to stop the clock.  You don’t care whether they make a lot of short gains, as long as that clock keeps running down.  The problem is, they might go for a Hail Mary play, and if they pull it off, there goes your victory.

What’s your call?

Like most NFL coaches, you’ll probably pull your defense back into a zone.  Your safeties and cornerbacks are five to ten yards back.  Your free safety is 20 yards back.  Your defensive backs are watching the other team’s QB instead of matching strides with the receivers.  You might give up a short play, but a big play of 20 yards or more is all but impossible.

Congratulations! You picked the prevent defense, and you won the game.  Although many fans hate the prevent defense, coaches often use it to protect their lead and win.  For that reason, it’s a smart play.

You make a smart play every single day on the job when you take pro-active steps to protect your safety.  How?

*Stay alert-always.  Don’t let boredom or familiarity with a job lull you into carelessness.  That’s when accidents happen.

*Look for hazards.  Instead of taking safety for granted, always be on the lookout for anything that can go wrong.

*Practice good housekeeping.  Clutter and improperly stored chemicals are major hazards.  Avoid them just by cleaning up.

*Wear the right Personal Protective Equipment if your job demands it. PPE is prevention in action.  Without it you risk your sight, your hearing, your hands…why risk injury? Think ahead and stay protected.

*Never, ever operate a machine without the proper guards.  Improperly used, machines can be dangerous.

These are just some ways to be pro-active about safety.  Ask your supervisor for more, because when you prevent an accident, you protect yourself.  And that’s the name of the game.

Prevent and Protect.

Be Pro-Active about Safety




Safety Message About Avoiding Slips And Falls, Lifting Properly, Fire Prevention

” Finish First ”

He learned how to drive by running moonshine in North Carolina and went on to become a NASCAR legend.  Let’s take a glimpse at the fascinating life of Junior Johnson.

Born Robert Glen Johnson Jr., in 1931 in North Carolina.  Junior Johnson grew up on a farm in Wilkes County.  He ran the moonshine that his father made in a homemade still, and even served 11 months in prison after a dust up with Federal agents at the still in the Carolina mountains.

Junior eventually traded the moonshine runs for the racetrack.  The all-out, go-for-broke driving that Junior showed on the back roads of Carolina transferred easily to the paved straightaways and banked curves of NASCAR.  In his first season, he won five races and finished sixth in the 1955 NASCAR Grand National points standing.

After his short stretch in prison, Junior returned to NASCAR in 1958 and won six races.  The following year, he won five more NASCAR Grand National races and made his reputation as one of the best drivers ever.

But his biggest win came in 1960 when he finished first at the Daytona 500.  It was during his preparation for that historic race when he accidentally discovered the idea of drafting.  By following extremely close to the car in front, Junior found that he could travel in the first car’s slipstream, reducing strain on his car and gaining additional speed.  That’s how Junior won Daytona against faster, higher-powered cars.

Just as Junior Johnson found ways to drive smarter and win, we can find ways to work smarter when it comes to safety.  For example, always….

*Practice good housekeeping to avoid slips, trips and falls.

*Br alert to fire prevention and know where extinguishers are located.

*Lift carefully with your legs—not your back.

*Handle chemicals with care and always read SDSs.

*Inspect your tools and keep them in good working order.

*Check with your safety supervisor for more safety smart tips.

Recognize that safety is a highly regarded value at your company and work accordingly, because slip-ups can happen to anyone, even to Junior Johnson.

The worst crash Junior had was at the World 600 in Charlotte.  Junior was driving full-throttle with a two-lap lead when a spectator threw a bottle onto the track, causing Junior to crash.

When Junior retired in 1966, he had an amazing 50 victories to his credit.  Why not make your safety record one of victory over accidents?  You can do it by working safely each and every day.  Remember…


* Copyright Harkins Safety 2006




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