Safety Training -- Making it a Habit

My husband was trying to move a large and extremely heavy beam up our stairs. He pushed while I steered. About half way up, his muscles were fading. It looked for a moment like the beam would win. I could already picture my husband hitting the bottom of the stairs, followed by the 200-pound beam and then me.

My next thought was, Haven't you been writing work safety articles for years? How did we get into this situation?

7 Steps to Safety

We did eventually get the beam up the stairs, but I vowed to start executing the same safety practices at home that should be done on any job site.

1. Make safety a habit. Don't make safety something you have to think about on rare occasion. It should be part of every job.

2. Look out for hazards. Don’t wait until the hazardous situation comes to you, be proactive. Look for potential problems and act on them.

3. Humility. None of us are super humans. We don’t have anything to prove by doing things that are dangerous. Leave that to paid stunt men.

4. Patience. Don't put aside safety because you want something done in a hurry.

5. Training. If you or your team are doing something you haven't done before, get some training. And make sure safety training is included.  

6. Speak up. If you see something unsafe, tell someone. Don't wait for an accident or ignore the situation altogether.

7. Set a good example. Our attitudes and actions affect others more than we know. Be a safety champion. Don’t condone unsafe behaviors.

I feel like my husband and I narrowly avoided what could have been something pretty serious. I hope our wakeup call can also be yours.

Diane Mettler has been a manager for nearly 20 years. She's also a freelance writer and editor--with hundreds of her articles published in a variety of magazines—and teaches writing at the University of Washington.