Many of the injuries that occur on our various sites are caused by workers making common safety mistakes that could have been prevented.

Common Safety Mistakes:

Lack of housekeeping: It may seem simple, but a messy work area makes a work environment unsafe. Pallet banding lying on the ground, spilled oil and obstructed walkways all result in injuries.

Not using Lockout / Tag out on equipment needing repair: A lot of injuries are caused by the failure to lockout /tag out equipment and machinery needing repair. It is imperative to disable the equipment as soon as someone knows it is not functioning properly. This will ensure the equipment does not cause injury or create an unsafe work environment.

Improper use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): It is a common, yet incorrect, practice to wear goggles around the neck, or to put hearing protection in improperly. A walk around the shop might find face shields that are scratched to the point where visibility is poor.

All of these are examples of failures in the proper use of Personal Protective Equipment. PPE is the last line of defence in protecting the employee. Therefore, the improper use of PPE, or failure to maintain and replace defective PPE, increases the likelihood of injury.

Not having a process or plan: Most workplace injuries occur when work being done is not part of a normal process. It is important to have a work plan for non-process work. No matter how it is done, planning the work and asking “What if?” questions will help identify hazards and implement controls to prevent injuries.

Failure to communicate: One of the easiest things to prevent unsafe conditions is to discuss what hazards or unsafe acts have been noticed. Communicating the hazards and failures in processes is an essential element of protecting ourselves and our co-workers from the hazards that potentially exist in the workplace.




How often have you said or done something and then later, reflecting on your action, thought to yourself, “How could I have done that?” Here are some afterthoughts which, unfortunately, too many of us have experienced:

  • “That’s how we’ve always done it before.” (…before the accident occurred anyway.)
  • “I should have taken care of that board with the projecting rusty nails earlier.” (Now, I have to take off work to get a tetanus shot.)
  • “Wow, I never realized that a fire could get out of control so fast.” (If I’d called the fire department before trying to put it out myself, I might still have a place to work tomorrow.)
  • “I know they were always preaching that we should lift with the leg muscles instead of the back muscles.” (What the heck is a herniated disk?)
  • “My safety glasses were in the tool box, but I was just going to grind off this one little piece….” (I wonder if they’ll still let me drive with only one eye.)
  • “We were only going to use the scaffold for one day. I never thought a hammer would fall off the plank and strike someone.” (I had a hunch I should have taken the time to install the toe boards.)

Any of this sound familiar?? They say hindsight is the only perfect science-but foresight could have avoided these incidents, misfortunes and regrets.

Remember, it takes only a second to make a disaster strike; just one accident is all it takes to destroy every safety reputation you’ve gained. Be wise, take the time now to work safe and help your fellow employees to be safe.


Safety Awareness


Safety Awareness is like almost everything else we do . . . it is learned, not instinctive. We aren’t born with awareness for safety concerns . . . in fact anyone who has a young toddler or grandchild knows this first hand as they see them going around doing unsafe things constantly.

We learn through various means. Some learn by doing, others by watching, some by reading. Others learn by their mistakes or the mistakes of others which is one reason we post and talk about near misses and direct hits that we’ve had here and at other companies and locations throughout the country.

So how do you know you’ve developed good safety awareness? Here are some good examples of behaviours that suggest you have good safety awareness:

Before you begin a job, you consider how to do it more safely

You make sure you know how and when to use personal protective equipment

As you work, you check you position to reduce strain on your body

While you are working, you become aware of any changes in the area – people coming or going, jobs beginning or ending
You start talking with others about safety
Monitor yourself today and see if you’ve got good safety awareness. If you don’t, one of the best ways to gain further awareness is to step back and take a hard look at your or a coworkers actions as they are performing a job. Watch for risky actions. You will learn and if you’re watching a coworker . . . share those observations with them to help them go home safely each and every day.