Look and Liveby Susan McElrath
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Most accidents happen because people just didn't watch what they were doing, where they were walking, where they were standing, sitting, or climbing. This week's Safety Topic deals with paying attention and "looking" which is the most important and basic principle of accident prevention.
We've have all heard of the painter who stepped back to admire his work and fell five floors from his scaffolding. It's all right to admire your own work, but it's mighty important to look before you step in any direction. You could be stepping into an open stairwell, or off the edge of a platform, onto a pile of lumber, into the path of a moving vehicle or into the way of a swinging load.
On construction projects, in manufacturing plants, in fact in all types of industry, materials and equipment are always being handled and moved about. It is highly important that those working on the job be alert to all such movements. Look up, look down, look all around, so you'll never walk into the path of a moving truck, an earthmoving machine, an elevator or some other kind of hoisting equipment.
Unique to construction projects is the fact that scrap material and debris is removed from the structure by throwing or dropping it to the ground level. These materials should never be thrown from a structure unless the person doing the throwing first looks to see for sure that no one's in the way. Both in manufacturing plants and on construction sites material and equipment is moved about by cranes and hoists. No one should walk beneath a swinging load if there's any way to prevent it. If it becomes essential to do so, be certain to look before doing so. Being alert to what is going on overhead is highly important to all worker, and one of the best ways to keep alert to overhead conditions is to look up occasionally.
Falls are not unique to construction projects but many people have been killed on construction jobs as a result of falling through false ceilings or temporary floor covering simply because they didn't take time to look where they were stepping. Throughout construction and industry others have been injured by working in poorly lighted areas, merely because they couldn't see. So, if you work in a poorly lighted place, make a special effort to see.
Your eyes are your biggest assets to your work; take care of them so they'll take care of you. When grinding, sawing, welding or doing any type of work of that sort, wear the proper kind of eye protection so that you will always have eyes to look with. And always watch what you are doing. If you keep your mind and your eyes on what you are doing and where you are, you will never have to explain an accident by saying, "I didn't see" when what you really meant was "I wasn't looking."
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