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Latest News & Quarterly Newsletters: Safety

Safety NETwork News February 2017

Wednesday, February 15, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Lisa Anderson
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Today’s Topic: ‘You must learn from the mistakes of others. You can't possibly live long enough to make them all yourself. I for one have made many of them myself. We should learn from others so we can avoid sorrow & pain. Last year in 2016 we read or heard about a lot of horrific accidents. Some were industrial accidents, usually involving moving equipment and some involve vehicles, such as cars, trucks, semi-trucks. Other types of accidents involve recreation; such as boats, wave runners, paragliding, fishing, etc. Most of course are preventable. Let me share a few accidents in which I was involved in and received injuries. I must preface this with a why I am now involved in the AWWA Small System Safety and Security Committee. About 9 years ago when I began my career with the Division of Drinking Water, I was approached by Steve Cain, the Council Chair for the Safety and Security Committee and was asked to serve on this Committee. I was excited to accept the opportunity to serve on this committee. When I told my wife that I was going to be on the safety committee for AWWA Intermountain Section, she broke into laughter and said, “you’re kidding me”, reminding me of some injuries I had in the past due to a lack of safety practices. I will get to those in a minute. In the past (about 20yrs ago) I had been involved in a great safety program with Ogden City Water Utility where I was part of a team effort (approx. 50 employees) earning a Governor’s Award for our utility achieving 1 million hours worked without a lost time accident. After leaving the Utility where we were constantly reminded of safety practices, it seems as though I let my guard down. The first accident was out in the country near Scipio. I was cutting a zip tip tag with a utility knife from a new padlock for the gate where we had been target practicing and cut my thumb severely which required surgery. Next I was using a chop saw (power miter box) without the guard and while cutting some base board molding the board I was cutting bumped my wrist into the blade, causing a severe injury that required surgery to tendons. Then I was helping our daughter and son in law build their new home and someone I was working with had latched back of the guard on the saw (you would have thought that my previous injury with the chop saw would have caused me to stop and think twice about using these unsafe skill saws but everyone was in a hurry and I told myself I would be careful). I was careful with the saw until I set it on the subfloor and the blade caught the wood and bucked back into my leg. It took 27 stitches to fix that one. Then there was the damage to my other thumb by setting up an extension ladder without seeing it was properly latched (now I am all thumbs). I think I will stop there with the accidents. There is not enough time to cover them all. I wasn’t about to share these stories with Steve, when asked to serve on the committee, partly because of the embarrassment and believing that he would tell me he had made a mistake about choosing me to be on the safety committee. I look back at my experiences and know that I could truly share the ‘what not to dos’ to avoid injuries along with the ‘to do’s’. All it takes is a minute or two to think about the projects we are about work on and how they could be accomplished safely. Please learn from my mistakes. By the way my wife finally allowed me to complete my probation of not being able to use power tools.

Mark Hansen – Utah Div. of Drinking Water

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