How well do you know the history of the equipment we use everyday?  Try and guess what is being described in each group based on the hints given.

Answers are at the very bottom of the page...

Many THANKS to Bob Cornett and his safety group for sharing.


Rushing, fatigue, frustration, complacency, anger, etc.—all of these emotions and states can contribute to the making of critical mistakes.  A person who’s normally a safe driver becomes a different person once he sleeps through the alarm and is now running late for work.  Suddenly the good habits disappear and are replaced by tailgating, cursing and speeding. It’s when people get into such states that accidents are most likely to happen.

The same thing happens in the workplace.  When the machine is down and you haven’t been able to make parts all morning and the customers are waiting, you start rushing.  All your good habits and training go out the window and risky behaviour takes over.  

Accidents are basically caused by four things:

  1. Not Watching What We’re Doing.  Most of us have had our fingers pinched in a car door at one time or another.  Now if we’d had our eyes on what we were doing, our reactions would have taken over and we would have jerked our hand out of the way—no injury, just a close call.  Not watching what we were doing took away our ability to react. 
  2. Not Concentrating on What We’re Doing.  Not all hazards are visible. Some hazards must be thought about and prepared for. We need to know they’re lurking even if we can’t immediately detect them with our eyes.  Examples: A hot stove, a film of oil on the roadway and electricity. We need to concentrate on the task we’re performing so that we can recognize and avoid the hazards.  
  3. Being in or Moving into the “Line of Fire”  Failing to recognize that we’re in the line of fire is another cause of accidents. It’s often the result of not keeping our eyes and mind on the task at hand. 
  4. Loss of Balance, Traction or Grip.  This type of error is also apt to occur when our eyes or minds are not on task.

How to Get Back on Track

When we’re rushing, tired or frustrated, we’re less inclined to be focused on the task at hand or aware of the dangers around us.  So the best way to protect yourself is to recognize when you’re rushed, tired or frustrated and use it as a warning.  Some people already do this type of thing. They’re working on a project and nothing seems to be going right.  Say a bolt is really tight and they can’t seem to get it loose no matter what they do. They start jerking on the wrench a little harder.  But before the wrench slips and they fall or hurt their shoulder, they realize that they’re getting frustrated and are likely to get injured if they keep it up. They put the wrench down and go get a cup of coffee.  When they return they’re calmer and can now take a reasoned approach to solve the problem, such as getting the right tool or seeking help.  Many workplace injuries are the result of external factors like rushing, frustration, fatigue or complacency.  The next time you find yourself in a state of mind that contributes to risky behaviour, take a deep breath and say to yourself, “Hey, if I keep this up, I’m going to hurt myself.” Take the time to get your mind back on task.  

\When two or more persons are given a task to perform, communication is usually an important aspect.  Without a clear plan and effective communication execution of the task may be more difficult and will put persons at risk of being hurt.  Effective communication means that which is clear and understood.
The communication may take the form of hand signals and/or verbal indication.  Some examples of situation where communication is required include:

  • Lifting operation with the use of a crane-a signal person is required to provide signals to the crane operator
  • Manual handling of heavy objects-good communication and coordination is required to prevent unexpected movement of load 
  • Pulling a flange, motor, valve, etc. with the assistance of a co-worker
  • Using a pneumatic device with the assistance of a co-worker
  • Spotting a haul truck in a mining pit
  • Loading a haul truck using an excavator
  • Operating a high pressure device (steam, water, air) driven and having another person apply pressure
  • Coordinating an emergency rescue operation

The case below exemplifies how tragic lack of clear and effective communication can be.

A 53-year-old Georgia truck driver was killed when he was accidentally struck by a semi driven by his wife.  He was killed at about 11:30 p.m. while preparing to unload a tractor trailer in the parking lot of an Industrial Park, according to police.  He was working on the pin that connects the cab of the truck and the trailer, his wife thought he had signalled her to move the truck, and she accidentally struck him, police said.  A preliminary autopsy indicated that he suffered from multiple blunt force trauma injuries to his chest and neck.  The couple had been married for 33 years, police said.  All the details on the cause of this fatality are not yet known, but certainly communications appears to play a part in this.  Clear and concise communications between co-workers is a must and even in this couple married 33 years, something broke down.  

When communicating during moments critical to safety:

  • Ensure you don’t rely on solely hand signals or shouting but explore ways to improve the method used
  • Where possible avoid the use of multiple persons making the communication
  • Ensure everyone knows the “plan” and their responsibilities ahead of time and ensure communications are not only heard, but understood.
  • If the job or environmental conditions change, stop and re-evaluate the communication method.
  • Take into considerations factors such as noise and the visibility of co-worker.
  • Be absolutely sure that you are ready to act when the communication is received.
  • Don’t guess or assume what the signal or message is.

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Electricity is something that cannot be seen and, yet, it is the most useful power controlled by man. Although useful, it can be very destructive power to both man and material if the proper precautions are not taken.

The danger is always there, and we must know what means of protection can be used to eliminate the hazards. Even the seasoned electricians need to remember basic rules of electrical safety.

Here are a few to keep in mind:

Jobsite electrical installation

The following rules apply to electrical installations, both temporary and permanent, used on the jobsite.

  • Extension cords used with portable electrical tools and appliances shall be three wire types. Never remove grounds from extension cords.
  • Temporary lights shall be equipped with guards to prevent accidental contact with the bulb. Guards are not required when reflector is constructed in such a way that the bulb is deeply recessed.
  • Temporary lights shall not be suspended by their electrical cords unless cords and lights are designed for this means of suspension.
  • Splices shall have insulation equal to half of the cable.
  • Electrical and extension cords or cables are not to be laid on floors, in walkways, or in similar locations unless it is impractical to do otherwise.  They should be suspended or secured in such a way as not to block or hang in walkways, doorways, or work areas. 
  • Panel boxes shall have a cover on them at all times, except when being serviced. When a temporary cover is in place, it should be marked "HOT" to denote live current.

Portable power tools

In construction, portable power tools with defective wiring cause many injuries. The following safe practices recommended.

  • Use tools with 3-wire plugs and make sure the connections are tight.
  • Check tools, equipment, and cables frequently for safe condition.
  • Disconnect tools before making adjustment or repairs.
  • When using power tools in a wet area use caution: the shock hazard is increased.

Electrical outlets

  • Before using an outlet make a safety check for loose cable connections, bare wires, cracked outlets, and missing or damage face plates.  When using an outlet, be sure the plug fits firmly and check for any signs of heating caused by faulty connections. 
  • Never yank a cord from an outlet because the action can break cord insulation and wires, pull wire connections loose, bend plug prongs, and spread clips inside the outlet.  
  • Three-pronged outlets: Always guard three-pronged plugs. They are your shock lifeguard. Never cut off the third prong to fit an older two-hole outlet.
  • Never use a two-wire extension cord with a three-pronged plug.  If you use an adapter at a two-hole outlet, be sure the pigtail is attached to the faceplate screw. (You must test the screw for known ground source.")

“Action springs not from thought, but from a readiness for responsibility.”— Dietrich Bonhoeffer

LEARNING defensive driving techniques and driving defensively could prove the difference between life and death on the roads, but how many motorists actually know the limits of their vehicle and can handle a critical situation????  Aspects of driving such as proper driving posture, braking, lane changes and reactive manoeuvres, recognizing and controlling skidding and vehicle maintenance are generally covered as part of practical defensive driving courses.

One of the most alarming facts facing drivers is the time and distance it takes for a speeding vehicle to stop.  At 100kmh, the average stopping distance is 80m, but there are several variables that will affect a driver’s ability to pull up in time.  The first is human reaction time, which will usually vary from one quarter of a second to three quarters of a second, but can be doubled or tripled by tiredness, alcohol, fatigue and low concentration levels.  Once the brakes have been applied, other variables such as the type of braking system, tyre pressures and tread, vehicle weight, suspension and road conditions all play a part.  

All motorists should maintain a safe gap between their vehicle and other vehicles, minimize distractions while driving, share the workload on longer trips, avoid being in a rush and be aware of what other vehicles are around you before stopping or changing lanes.

Disobeying the road rules will eventually come at a price, the least being it will hit the pocket. but much, much, worse, your actions could cause injury or loss of life. There is no greater grief than to unexpectedly lose a loved one.

Some People Don’t Understand – they think they are good drivers, they think they have a good car and they think the road conditions are good at the time but a problem rises when something unexpected happens in front of them. They have no time to react and no time to avoid any hazard that may occur in front of them and this often results in a serious crash or fatality.

Lack of patience can also be a big killer. If people are in a hurry to get somewhere, as they often are during the Christmas period for instance, they will generally start to exhibit a number of bad driving habits which can result in speeding,unsafe overtaking or following other vehicles too closely. These bad behaviours are more likely to result in a crash.

Let us commit ourselves to: Abide by the three C’s (concentration, consideration, control), be patient, DO NOT drive when under the influence, drive to road conditions, avoid speeding, maintain good health and accept limitations, avoid using cell phones while driving, exercise caution at all times, being aware of surroundings and ensuring that vehicles are in good operating condition.

“Opportunity is missed by most because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” Thomas A. Edison

There is a kind of stored energy related to the sheer weight of things in our workplaces, such as loaded pallets, heavy equipment, and bulk material.  This type of stored energy is also called potential energy.  Another type of stored energy is called “elastic stored energy” which can be found in ropes and cables used to move heavy objects or equipment.  Potential energy and elastic stored energy hazards are a source of a variety of serious injuries and fatalities.

Electrical and Mechanical Stored Energy

Equipment such as motors, control panels, conveyors and hydraulic systems contain electrical and mechanical stored energy.

Weight = Stored Energy

The sheer weight of things in our workplaces, such as loaded pallets, heavy equipment, and bulk material.  That weight is a type of stored energy, also called potential energy. The higher the object is from the ground, the greater its’ stored energy.  

Elastic Stored Energy

Another kind of stored energy to be aware of is called “elastic stored energy.” For example, when a bungee cord is slack it contains no stored energy.  But when it gets stretched out, the energy needed to stretch it is stored there until it’s released.  In the workplace, the same kind of energy – in much greater quantities – can be found in ropes and cables that are used to move heavy objects and eq uipment.  

Unfortunately, potential energy and elastic stored energy can be a source of serious injuries and fatalities at some facilities.

Awareness and Observation

To protect ourselves we must increase our awareness of stored energy hazards and we must become more observant for them in our surroundings.  “A worker raises a dock leveller as a truck backs up. A person on the dock is standing too close to the leveller. When the leveller drops, it lands on the toe of the worker’s boot.  The correct procedure for this task is that the operator makes sure the person is clear before lowering the leveler.”  

Awareness of stored energy hazards goes beyond the workplace. In fact, our homes often contain stored energy hazards that we can easily overlook.  Things such as bookshelves, heavy furniture and large TV’s can become serious hazards. Whether we’re at work or at home, the variety of stored energy hazards we can encounter is nearly endless, and the hazards can change from day to day. So the key to our safety is awareness - awareness of the hazards we could encounter and awareness of our surroundings. This awareness will help us to either eliminate stored energy hazards or stay out of their line of fire. 

We’ll not only protect ourselves, we’ll protect the well-beings of our co-workers and our family members as well.

"Cultivate optimism by committing yourself to a cause, a plan or a value system. You'll feel that you are growing in a meaningful direction which will help you rise above day-to-day setbacks." — Dr. Robert Conroy

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