The Importance of Safety Training: It Saves Lives
Imagine one day a family member goes to work but never comes home. The shock and grief. Lives changed forever. The importance of safety training is that it saves lives. It’s the right thing to do.
Recently, I was talking to my parents about the safety industry. My dad started sharing stories from his career working as a sheet-metal worker for 40 years. These are a few of his stories of why safety training programs are important.
Why Safety Training Programs Are Important
1. Fire Watch
My dad was on fire watch on the floor below where someone was using a torch to cut a 3x3 hole in the metal decking so they could run ductwork. The role of fire watch is to stand on the floor below making sure no sparks caught flame and that no one walked in the path. The man above left his post to attend the safety meeting. He left the hole wide open, not marked, covered, or blocked...to go to the safety meeting. (shaking your head?)
My dad ran up the flight of stairs to properly cover and mark the hole so no one would accidentally fall in. The area was dimly lit so he put up the wooden barrier with red caution tape. Because of this, he was late to the occupational safety meeting so everyone noticed when he came in. The safety manager called him out and asked why. My dad explained the story and the safety manager recognized him for his efforts and gave him a fancy flashlight!
In this puzzling situation, the pressure to be on time for the safety training meeting was somehow more important than actually executing the safety training program. In my dad’s opinion, health and safety training is important because some people are not very bright. (As a sheet metal worker, he used more colorful language that I will leave for your own imagination!)
2. Safety Glasses
On one job there was a guy who, for some unknown reason, would never properly wear his safety glasses. He had been warned twice. The company provided the glasses and the lanyard so you could hang the glasses around your neck.
This man was drilling into a concrete ceiling that was covered in a fire-proofing spray. The dust from drilling could be harmful if it gets into the eye. Of course, this man was not wearing the glasses properly and the flecks fell into his eyes.
The first aid kits on these jobs are sealed. If you break the seal, you have to fill out a report about the incident that caused the need for the first aid supplies. When this man went to get the eyewash, he broke the seal. When the safety manager found out, the man was fired since he had been warned twice already. In this case, occupational safety training is important to keep your job.
3. Plywood Cover
On another job, someone had left a piece of plywood over an open hole in the floor. Concrete had not yet been poured and the rebar was exposed. My dad watched from a distance as a man walked up to the plywood, lifted it up, and kept walking forward (too quickly for my dad to stop him).
The man, who clearly wasn’t thinking or paying attention, walked right into the hole. When he fell, the rebar went through his calf. The proper safety procedures would have had the wood barrier and caution tape. I think this man would agree that proper safety training is important to keep people safe and reduce the time out of work.
4. Improvised Ladder
In this last story, a man was using a sliding ladder that was too tall for the space he was working in. The company had not provided the appropriate equipment for the space. The well-intentioned man took the ladder apart and used the sliding portion to reach his work area. He did not realize this piece of the ladder did not have proper footings. It was set up on concrete, the ladder slid, he fell. And now he is paralyzed. This is such a sad story, I can’t imagine how that family was impacted.
Creative problem-solving should not come at the expense of safety. I am sure this man and his family would all agree with safety training importance. It’s not the place for a check box mentality or doing the bare minimum and it’s not the line item in your budget that you ever compromise.
5. 25 Foot Fall
Early in my dad’s 40+ year career, he was working on a roof. He didn’t realize the high-tension wires crossed the corner of the roof by three feet. The wires had no insulation and the company should have had the wires capped with protective red jackets. Somehow my dad came into contact with the wires and he was hit with the flash off 2400 volts. His heart stopped and he fell 25 feet off the roof. (My heart races as I write this).
Luckily, there was no equipment below. There had been a large rainstorm the night before and the ground where he landed was soft and muddy. The impact of the ground restarted his heart, thank God. “You know it’s a bad day when you wake up naked on a table!” My dad has an awesome sense of humor as he related this story.
Clearly, in this case, workplace safety training is important because companies don’t always take the right safety precautions that could save lives. This story is from 1971, the year OSHA regulations were created. Eerie coincidence.
Workplace Safety Training from HSI
It’s very satisfying to work for a company like HSI that, at the end of the day, is making people’s lives better by improving their skills and keeping them safe through training courses. For example, if you become a better communicator at work, those skills flow into your personal life with family and friends.
If you gain new skills through our training materials and videos that help you get promoted, that builds your confidence and hopefully your bank account as well. Many of our safety training courses apply at home to keep your family safe.
Now, adding HSI to the mix, the mission expands. Part of the HSI mission includes making workplaces and communities safer. You have to feel good about that! HSI offers many safety training topics already. Now, with our new relationship with HSI, we offer even more.