Unsafe Conditions – The Deadly Dozen # 9

9. Hazardous tools, equipment or materials

It is said that knowledge is power. It is also life when it comes to hazardous tools, equipment or materials. Knowing where danger exists, knowing why a particular tools or piece of equipment is potentially hazardous is the first step in protecting against it. You wouldn’t give a baby a chainsaw to play with; no more should you start using equipment and tools without knowing how to use them safely.

Today’s condition is, of course, extremely general and generic and there is no way to specify all the dangers and hazards involved in all the tools, equipment or materials that you might use in the course of your job; nor, in fact, is there a need to.

The Fix

As I mentioned at the start, the answer to the problem is knowledge. Learn, train and refresh. Understand the dangers, learn the potential issues and take the necessary precautions. It’s really that simple. You wouldn’t climb in the cockpit of a 747 and try to take off without a pilot’s license because you understand that what you don’t know will kill you. Every new tools, every new piece of equipment and every new material should be treated with the same caution. Read and make sure you understand all the safety precautions. Periodic refresher courses can help keep current with changes and technological advances.

If it means feeling silly asking a question, if it means feeling a little less macho, so be it. After all, no one looks macho in a pine box.

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