Safety Tidbit for Monday, 7/24/2017

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A coworker recently took a ride on a zipline. She was telling me that, as she sat into the harness, she realized her arm was over stretched and could not effectively work the brake above her head. Since this was the only way to control her speed and keep from injuring herself and others on the other platform , she spoke up to the operator to express her concern. A quick adjustment was made, and she was able to zip away, feeling confident that she could work the brake.

What could be more simple? When something doesn’t feel right, speak up and ask questions. It’s just another little thing that helps you…

Be Safe!

Keith Steele

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Safety Tidbit for Monday, 07/17/2017

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Last month I wrote a tidbit about how common sense can deceive us in our safety efforts. I’ve given it some thought since then because I’ve frequently suggested that we apply “common sense” in support of our safety efforts. In the future I’ll try using the phrase “safety perspective.” Instead of saying we should use “common sense,” we should look at things from a “safety perspective” to help us…

Be Safe!

Keith Steele

Safety Tidbit for Monday, 7/10/2017

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My wife was on the freeway last week and saw an accident in the making.  She was behind a pickup truck, when two cars passed her and the truck, one on each side.  Both cars then tried to change lanes, both moving into the space in front of the pickup.  The pickup driver applied his brakes, as did my wife, both anticipating the worst.  Luckily, the two cars realized what was going to happen and moved back to their lanes before they collided.

Here’s my suggestion. When driving (at 70+ mph or any speed), give yourself lots of room and lots of time.  Had those two cars collided, it would have involved them, the pickup, my wife and I don’t know how many other cars.  True, there wasn’t an accident, but there could have been.  I cannot think of any situation where trying to save a few seconds is worth a possible accident.  Just take the time to …

Be Safe!

Keith Steele

Safety Tidbit for Monday, 07/03/2017

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Last week, my family was cleaning up in the back yard, which included burning some old wood in our small fire pit. At some point, we also started burning some grass that had been collecting. Maybe the grass wasn’t as dead as we’d thought. After we’d been working on the project for a while, we heard some sirens and saw a fire truck pass by on the main road. Soon some firemen were in our yard. Someone had seen the smoke and called the fire department. I really can’t blame the neighbors for doing what they thought was right. On the good side, the captain from the fire department said we’d done it right by using the fire pit, kept it away from the house and we weren’t under the trees.

Here’s the safety tie-in. Tomorrow is Independence Day, which we often celebrate with picnics, parades and fireworks. If you set off fireworks at home, follow these tips from the National Council on Fireworks Safety. (www.fireworkssafety.org/safety-tips/) “Use fireworks OUTDOORS in a clear area; away from buildings and vehicles. Never relight a “dud” firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water. Always have a bucket of water and charged water hose nearby. A responsible adult SHOULD supervise all firework activities. Never give fireworks to children.” (That’s a small part of their list.) I doubt you want a visit from your fire department. Take the steps that will ensure that you will…

Be Safe!

Keith Steele

Safety Tidbit for Monday, 6/26/2017

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Last week we marked the official start of summer, even though Memorial Day was a few weeks earlier. Next week we celebrate Independence Day on the Fourth of July. Some of the popular summer activities are vacationing, fireworks, camping, cookouts, swimming, and the list goes on. Summer is a time to enjoy the warm weather, but make sure you plan and prepare for every activity. A little preparation can help any activity go smoothly. Neglecting proper preparation can lead to First Aid, hospital visits – or worse. Take the time, make good plans, and plan to …

Be Safe!

P.S. If you plan to drink, don’t drive. If you plan to drive, don’t drink.

Safety Tidbit for Monday, 06/19/2017

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I can use one of two doors to go between my car and my desk. Common sense says the closer door would be the shortest route. Out of curiosity, I stepped it off and I’m wrong. It’s not a huge difference, but I save a few steps by using the farther door.  

Earlier this year I had a class on forklifts. The instructors shared the concept that “common sense” conflicts with safety. For example, a crane operator had a “ticket” saying maintainers were working on the crane.  However, when the production foreman saw the maintenance team taking a coffee break, his common sense said the crane was available for use. What these two didn’t know was that one man was on the crane’s track, preparing for the rest of the team. It was a fatal mistake, and more stringent procedures are now in place.  

Common sense says, “Nobody walks in this area.” Maybe that’s true 99.9% of the time. Common sense says, “The other driver will see my blinker.” as you start to change lanes. Maybe that other driver is distracted. I could usea thousand examples, but you get the idea. When you have the choice, ignore common sense and choose to…

Be Safe!

Keith Steele

Safety Tidbit for Monday, 06/12/2017

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I was driving over the weekend when my smartphone alarm reminded me to take my medications. I faced a few problems when this happened. First, my alarm was sounding through my Bluetooth hearing aids, so I couldn’t tell where my smartphone was. Second, I was on a rural section of freeway, in the middle of road construction, and the southbound traffic was in the other lane of the northbound side of the freeway. I couldn’t glance at the other seat for fear of drifting into the oncoming traffic. I couldn’t pull over because it would be a safety risk to get back into the traffic at freeway speeds. I decided to first remove my hearing aids to get that sound out of my ear. Second, I decided to take the next exit and find my smartphone, which had fallen to the floor. When all was said and done, it had taken over five minutes.

I’m sorry for the drawn-out story, but here’s the safety tie-in. Things will happen, and when they do, just take the time, evaluate things, and come up with a plan to …

Be Safe!

Keith Steele

Safety Tidbit for Tuesday, 06/05/2017

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For the last few days, I’ve been waiting for some stroke of genius to inspire my tidbit for this week, or watching for some major event that I could use as fodder for my writing.  Neither has happened, and since I need to leave soon for a meeting, I’m left with hoping that what I write isn’t too mundane.

And perhaps that’s how it should be.  Here’s the safety tie-in.  Most of the time, safety topics lack glamour.   (If anything, they are more inclined towards gore.)  If we do the mundane things – think things through, prepare, communicate, be observant and execute plans with caution – then we will be doing what it takes to…

Be Safe!

Keith Steele

Safety Tidbit for Monday, 5/29/17

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From my desk, I can see at least eight safety signs or markings – barriers, instructions, electrical warnings, floor markings, and the frequent honks form the forklifts.  Outside my shop, that number grows rapidly with multiple safety features in my car (turn signals and “door ajar” lights) to all the traffic signals, road markings and signs, and so forth.  With so many signs, it can be easy to overlook them.  But all those signs and markers are there for a reason.  Initially these would be for education or familiarization, and then with experience, they become reminders.  But in every case, we need to heed the signs and markings so we will…

Be Safe!

Keith Steele

Safety Tidbit for Monday, 5/22/2017

Right now, I’m waiting for my daughter’s high school graduation to begin, which allows me a chance to reflect and write my tidbit. I had hoped to write and post my tidbit in these few minutes, but I didn’t count on a poor cell signal and an overtaxed wifi. My wife made sure we left early, which proved to be a good idea when we ran into some road construction. As for my daughter, she’s being recognized for her hard work and overcoming some significant challenges the last two years. (Am I boasting? Yes, and please allow me this one indulgence.)

Here’s the safety tie-in. There’s always a chance that something unexpected will happen, so always allow the time you need to be prepared, and recognize when things go right. It may not be a high school graduation, but I think we can appreciate it when we end each day in the same condition we started. It’s the small things that come together to help us…

Be Safe!

Keith Steele