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Weekly Toolbox Talk: Shortcuts

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All of us have exposed ourselves to possible injury by taking shortcuts when a few extra seconds would have meant doing something the safe way. We did this as children when we jumped the fence instead of using the gate. We do it today when we cross streets between intersections instead of at corners.

Many people show disregard for the fact that minor safety violations may have serious consequences. If any of you are in the habit of taking shortcuts, you must break that habit now! In our line of work, taking shortcuts can be deadly. We all know of incidents where a thoughtless act was the direct cause of an accident. In one case, an employee was picking up metal studs from the floor and he decided to take a shortcut by walking in an area that had water and mud to get to the elevator faster when he slipped and fell. This incident resulted in an accident because the employee disregarded the topic in the safety meeting where this and other areas were mentioned as hazardous places.

On another case that did not turn into an accident, but ended up as a FALL EXPOSURE, two employees removed an existing wall in a stairwell leaving an open area of 15 feet. Instead of barricading the leading edge, they left a fall exposure for other workers to fall into. If they had taken a few moments to barricade the opening, no one would have been exposed to such dangers.

The safe way is not always the shortest way. However choosing the safe way is your personal responsibility. When you are told to go to work in a particular area, you are expected to take the safe route - not a shorter or more dangerous one.

If there is no safe access to a particular job assignment, make sure you report this to your supervisor. Ladders, scaffolds or equipment are provided for elevated work. Use them. Even though an elevated job may take only a few minutes, do not climb on unstable objects or use an improvised platform. Steps, ladders or platforms are provided to get you from one elevation to another. If they are not already provided, take time to have them installed.

Your first responsibility is to yourself. Remember that ladders, steps and walkways are built to save you trouble and to help prevent injury. If you see anyone taking shortcuts, warn them of the dangers involved and alert your supervisor. The life you save may be your own.

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