This article is contributed by Daniel Baker
Jackie Chan wisely once said that it was never the big stunts that injured him – only ever the small ones. He’s leapt from roof tops, fallen from clock towers and dodged traffic; but the stunt that caused him the most long lasting damage was simply jumping to catch a tree branch. It nearly killed him, and it’s left him with a permanent hole in his head.
The reason behind this is that of course the action superstar is going to be much more cautious jumping from a rooftop and a lot more preparation will go into the safety and planning. When it comes to catching a tree branch though, he knows he can do it in his sleep and so he drops his guard. And the worrying thing is that most of us aren’t Jackie Chan – and we encounter these kinds of small dangers every day when we cross the road, when we go up the stairs or when we go out for a jog. And if you work in a dangerous environment – such as construction – then this is ever more likely. Climbing scaffolding, working with jackhammers, and lifting piles of bricks – these are all the kinds of ‘every day’ small stunts that could potentially lead to serious injury if you allow yourself to become complacent.
So how do you protect against carelessness? How can you avoid dropping your guard? Here we’ll look at some of the best ways to stay alert and avoid a small task becoming a serious risk.
Be in Optimum Form
If you go into work tired and low on energy then you will of course be more likely to get distracted, to miss things, and to end up injuring yourself as result. The solution is to make sure that when you’re at work, you’re 100% present and your mind isn’t elsewhere.
As such then, you should make sure to always get enough sleep each night, you should eat a big breakfast before going to work (filled with slow-release complex carbs), you should stay hydrated and you should take breaks whenever you need them. Meanwhile, if you wake up with a splitting headache or serious cold one morning – then call in sick. Even if you can potentially make it into to work, if you’re not able to concentrate then you’ll be a danger to yourself and others.
Work in Pairs
Even for smaller jobs, using a spotter should always be encouraged. If there are two of you handling a job, you not only have twice the man power, but you’ll also have two sets of eyes meaning you’re more likely to notice if something is wrong. Whether it’s lifting something heavy, or it’s climbing a ladder, you should get a friend to help you out and then repay the favour.
Of course the other benefit of working in pairs is that if an accident should happen, you’ll have someone there to get help or to help you up.
We can’t always be 100% on the ball and it’s human nature to occasionally miss the obvious because our head is elsewhere. This is why having the right protective gear is so important and why it should be worn at all times. And in the spirit of avoiding complacency that means wearing it when you’re sitting down to enjoy lunch as well – you never know when a piece of rubble could pose a danger, or when you might fall over backwards.
Checklists might seem like an irritation, but using them could just save your life. In one scientific study, researchers asked nurses to run through a checklist with surgeons before operating. The surgeons often found this frustrating and condescending, but when the process was implemented it actually resulted in far fewer mistakes and problems at work.
Even if you think you know what you’re doing then, write a checklist down and go through it each time you begin a new job. This should include things like tightening screws on your equipment, like making sure you’re wearing each item of safety gear, like checking your posture and like looking for cracks, weak points or other danger areas such as potential power lines.
Author Bio: Daniel Baker is a certified work safety inspector and works for SafetyQuip, Australia’s only significant B2B franchise offering the full range of workplace safety products.
- Jackie Chan leaping for tree branch image courtesy of satyamjoshi via photopin cc
- keep in form image courtesy of KetuGajjar (Suketu Gajjar}
- work in pairs image courtesy of MTAPhotos
- safe protective gear image courtesy of joelogon (Joe Loong)
- use checklists image courtesy of garryknight (Garry Knight)