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Editorial

Safety Pro


The Need For Speed: Painful Lessons



saftey0910
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09/01/2010 - Very few people are like my father, having the patience that I believe far exceeded anything Job (pronounced, Jobe, long 'o' from the Bible) could ever claim to have. He could start a project and, very methodically, persistently, and to the point of irritation, focus on that project until it was completed the way he wanted it. It didn't seem to matter if it took hours or days. On the other hand, I want whatever I am doing done now!

As I can attest to others with whom I had the need to respond to their home with flashing lights and siren, there are more people like me than like my father. That 'need for speed,' as it were, created the conditions for an emergency response. We need to be efficient and we want things done as soon as practicable, but at what cost? Here are some examples to take to heart to avoid the calamity, the pain, the suffering, and the ego-failure.

Our first example addresses the use of ladders around the home. The kitchen stool with barely room for your butt is not a good choice for climbing up for light bulb replacements or high shelves. Of course, neither is your computer chair with casters that gracefully slide across the floor while attempting to guide its direction like a skateboard. Outside, hanging off or reaching beyond the sides of the ladder will enact the law of gravity and create a free-fall. As funny as we think these experiences are, I have responded to each one of these types of events to transport a broken hip, a broken leg, and a broken back because they got in a hurry.

Perhaps you use power tools. Placing the trigger lock in the 'on' position so the saw can run 'hands-free' is not just a disaster waiting to happen, it is just stupid! In a work environment, it is against the law to run a power tool with the trigger lock engaged. Sawing through a leg or arm is why. When it happens at home, there's no workers' comp to cover your financial bankruptcy, let alone your ability to now spread peanut butter successfully on bread with only one hand.

Have you ever cut through the power cord while using a saw, pull the ground prong out of the plug, or simply try to get the wrong tool (like a cordless drill) to work as another tool (like a screwdriver) that it was not designed to do? Electrical shock that stops the heart or removing the drill bit now stuck through the hand is not just painful, but takes months for the tendons, nerves, ligaments, and skin to heal.

These events all happened in real life because people got in a hurry and didn't use the proper tool, didn't know how to use the proper tool properly, or simply wanted to get done sooner than later. Those hospital runs take hours. How much of a hurry are you in now?

Randy DeVaul (safetypro@roadrunner.com) is a safety professional and emergency response instructor, author, and writer. Comments are always welcome.

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