May 25, 2021 10:40 PM EDT
How to Stay Safe When Doing Critical Work
Some jobs are inherently dangerous. No matter how careful you are, mistakes are bound to happen. There is a lot you can do to reduce the chances of disaster. But there is nothing you can do to eliminate the possibility altogether. The safest thing for any of us to do is stay huddled in our homes, sheltering in place with a protective force field separating us from the outside world. That is exactly what some people choose to do. What they fail to realize is that dangers still abound inside the home.
People slip and fall in the bathroom and kitchen all the time. People cut themselves shaving, or chopping vegetables. People get food poisoning from mishandling certain types of food. People nervous eat too much ice cream and end up with diabetes. The home is not a danger-free safe zone. Arguably, if we want to be safe from viruses, we have to put ourselves out there so that we can become immune to them. That way, when we do get sick, it won't be anything we can't handle. Staying safe in critical work situations is never as simple as developing immunity to danger. So here are a few things that can help you stay safer for a longer period of time when doing difficult but vital work:
If you do a lot of heavy lifting at work, you know the importance of good technique paired with a lifting belt. Good technique, alone, is never enough. In the same way, you should be mindful of your environment on a construction site. But that mindfulness should be paired with a quality hard hat that can protect you against the unexpected.
When it comes to lifting, companies are working on more forward-thinking solutions. A worker can wear an exoskeleton suit that will enhance their natural lifting capability without the usual amount of stress and strain associated with the job. A number of companies are investing in research and development with regard to better gear for workers. These efforts should be applauded and recognized when they make breakthroughs that can change the face of work for everyone
Lifting is not just a matter of brute strength battling the pull of gravity. It is also a matter of hefting and maneuvering awkward loads with unevenly distributed weight. It is a matter of grip. Even with lifting gloves, drops are a real danger. When multiple people are on a single lift, lack of coordination can create a dangerous situation. The gear of the future will keep mishaps at a minimum. In the meantime, be sure to take full advantage of the safety equipment of today.
One of the best things you can do to stay safe in a dangerous job is master the skills needed for the job so that it becomes second nature. Of all the safety tips for welding, the number one tip will always be to gain as much skill as an apprentice before going solo. In the same way, a medical student has to go through a lot of training before she is allowed to wield a scalpel. A law student has to spend a lot of years doing the unsung grunt work before being the lead attorney in a case. Because welding is so inherently dangerous, it makes sense that the job requires a lot of training. If you want to stay safe, get as much training as possible.
Physical lifting is not the only reason to avoid working alone. There is also mental, heavy lifting. And it can leave you exhausted and drained. When you are tired all the time, you are not at your best. When good ideas matter, you need to surround yourself with the smartest people you can find and let them share the load. You will hardly be a generator of great ideas if you remain in a loop of confirmation bias. You need other people to help you see the big picture from other perspectives. When safety depends on clear thinking, you should never go it alone.
Safety is a critical part of doing critical work. The world cannot afford to lose critical contributors like you to avoidable accidents. Stay safe by utilizing all available safety gear, by maximizing your skills, and by sharing the responsibility with others who will always have your back.
Join the Conversation