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Safety is a choice

Monday, September 25, 2017

The longer I live, the more forklift safety classes I teach and the more accidents I see; I have come to realize that safety is a series of choices. We literally face hundreds or even thousands of different choices every day of our lives and many have nothing to do with safety. Most people probably go days, weeks or even months without ever giving a serious thought to safety decisions, but that does not mean that they are not still making safety related choices, they just don’t realize it. Some of the safety choices most people face might include:

• Wearing their seatbelt in the car, forklift or lawn mower.
• Wearing a helmet when riding a motorcycle or ATV.
• Using safety glasses when working in their shop, using a grass trimmer, etc.
• Keeping hazardous materials such as cleaning solutions and prescription drugs locked up and away from children.
• Driving the speed limit and stopping at red lights or stop signs.
• Properly securing young children in safety car seats.
• Keeping electrical appliances away form tubs, sinks, pools, etc.

Just like in industry, if someone chooses not to do things the safe way there is not always someone there to force them into doing it correctly. Most people know the potential consequences of not doing these things, but many feel the chances of having to pay the price are so remote that they don’t really need to worry. The emergency rooms of the world are full of people that thought the same exact thing and turned out to be wrong!

Whether you are at home, at work or operating a forklift you need to consider several things:

1) Realize you are making safety choices daily.
2) Understand the consequences of making the wrong choice and how it could impact you over a career or a lifetime.
3) Decide if you are willing to pay the price? In short, is the risk worth the reward. If I had to run into a burning house to save a family member, I would gladly take the risk, since the reward is very high. Is the benefit of saving a few seconds, but risking your life, worth not fastening your seatbelt?
4) If you are not willing to pay the price in terms of your health, your co-workers health or your family’s future, then choose the safe way and eliminate the risk.

Written by Brian Colburn of Forklift Training Systems, a leader in forklift safety training and related products. Email with questions or comments for Brian.