There are two basic ways to perform a task. One is to do the task in a safe manner, and the other is to be unsafe. I don’t honestly think that people intend to be unsafe when they set out in the morning. However there are emergency rooms full of people who, with the best intentions, need patching up.
Working safely takes a bit more than declaring, “I am a safe worker.” Completing a task safely takes planning and some risk analysis.
For example, say there are several boxes in overhead storage that you want. Before starting the project, take a few minutes to analyze the risk. How heavy are the boxes? Is a six-foot step ladder sufficient? Should I have a second person help? Is there anything on top of the boxes that I cannot see from the ground?
The idea is to look at each aspect of the task, consider the risk and do everything possible to eliminate or minimize the danger.
In truth, we all consider risk every day, especially when we operate a motor vehicle. Things happen fast on the highway, and your mind is considering risk, making calculations, and working to take the safest course of action.
One of the greatest risks for any task is to hurry. How many times have you been rushing through a project, thinking in the back of your mind, “This is a bad idea,” and then, bam! Off for a band-aid, or worse? I am not above that little lapse in good thinking.
Doing good work in general, whether around the home or in your shop, takes some planning. I am a planner by nature. I tend to plan in my mind and eventually on paper for weekend projects. I would like to think the planning is so my work will be safe but, in truth, I am an immature adult when setting out on a task and find myself missing something. I’m worse than a two-year old.
For that reason, I will visualize the task many times, making notes about hardware I may not have. If the project requires ladders, chainsaws, wood chippers, or my trusty tractor, time is spent planning for what could go wrong and how to minimize potential risk. Some things are downright nuts to do alone, so don’t.
Summer is a time for family and friends to enjoy our beautiful state. We are truly blessed to live here. However, this year we face a danger we cannot see.
There are some very brilliant doctors who have studied the risk and have given us things we can do to be safe. Be sure to wear your mask, practice social distancing, and wash your hands often.
Safety means minimizing risk. We will get through this together! Be safe!