Health, Safety and Environmental
Knowing Your Job Means Knowing Safety
We talk a lot about safety on the job. ToolBox talks have included such topics as good housekeeping, taking responsibility for safety, and using personal protective equipment. But one of the most important things you can do to ensure your own safety at HMI is to know what you’re doing. We are talking about job skills – the special know-how that many of you take for granted but, that is absolutely essential for your safety and the safety of others.
All of you are trained in many areas of work. You know the right way to use equipment and how to operate a piece of machinery safely. And you wouldn’t think of using equipment you weren’t trained to use. No matter how smart you are and how safety conscious, you can’t be completely safe doing a task that you don’t have the skills for.
Yet accidents often happen because people don’t know what they’re doing. No matter how careful you are, if you overload a crane because you don’t know what its load limit is, you’re headed for a work site disaster. If you use dangerous materials, such as flammable liquids, without knowing their properties, you could put the whole team in danger.
Knowing your job means knowing what you can and can’t do with the equipment and materials you use. It means knowing when to wear protective equipment and exactly what protection is right for the operation you’re doing. You wouldn’t think of using ordinary safety goggles for welding, any more than you would use a welding hood when sandblasting or painting.
The first rule of safety is “know your job.” When you know your job, you also know that no matter how skilled you are, you still need to guard against the dangers that are part of it. You won’t be tempted to cut comers on safety.
The second safety rule is “when you don’t know, ask.” None of us are so skilled that we know everything there is to know. New skills and techniques come along all the time. Or you may have done an operation a hundred times and realized that you have forgotten some detail that you need to know to be safe. Refresh your memory by rereading safety procedures from time to time. And if you can’t find what you need to know, ask your supervisor, especially when it comes to safety.