You have all heard the expression “like a bull in a china shop” in reference to someone being careless or clumsy. Let’s give that bull a name and call it “at risk behavior.” That bull can make a shambles of you and your family’s life – it can destroy your personal “china shop.”
What is at risk behavior?
- Not following safety procedures and good work practices such as Lockout / Tagout (LOTO), keeping guards in place, and using the right tools.
- Taking dangerous shortcuts. Don’t be complacent – eventually someone will be injured by taking safety shortcuts.
- Driving over the speed limit. Be aware that the probability of death and debilitating injuries will double for every speed increase of 10 miles per hour (MPH) over 50 mph.
- Texting and talking on the cell phone while driving. Your attention level and reaction times are very similar to those driving while intoxicated. Hang up and drive!
- Any activity where you choose not to eliminate or reduce the risk to a safe level.
How do we “cut the bull” to eliminate at risk behavior?
- Develop safety awareness. Always conduct a safety evaluation of the activity and make a Safe Plan of Action (SPA) to eliminate potential hazards. Educate yourself about any areas you are unsure of. Ask questions.
- Teach safety awareness. Everyone is an expert in the operation of some machine or with performing some activity and you should never pass up the opportunity to pass along your knowledge, experience, and insight to others. Teaching is the best way to increase your own safety awareness. Lead by example!
- Take safety home. You are 11 times more likely to be killed and three times more likely to be injured during off-the-job activities, so practice and teach on-the-job safety at home and away from work, too.
- Don’t rush. Always take a few minutes to analyze each activity, and eliminate any potential hazards first.
- Avoid fatigue. Stay well rested so that you can keep your eyes and mind on the task at hand. Avoid operating equipment or driving when you are tired.
Every time there is at risk behavior, there is a potential for injury. Your safety is in your hands and that’s “NO BULL!”