Recently while cleaning out some files I cam across a collection of editorials I had written years ago. Surprisingly some really seemed to fit the world as it is today with minor modifications. The point is although everything changes nothing is different.
Read With Caution, May Cause Drowsiness appeared as an editorial in 1989.
Here it is, November, the 11th month. Daylight savings time is over. It’s dark when you leave the house in the morning. It’s dark when you get home in the evening. You can’t go out without a jacket and some mornings you even need your gloves. If you park outside chances are you have to scrape your windows.
By now you’ve had an opportunity to read several articles on “The Wonders of Winter Maintenance. Winter is like taxes – something you simply can’t escape.
In addition to maintenance worries, winter presents safety concerns. Not only do we have to deal with ice and snow on the roads, we have to deal with the limited visibility of frosted and fogged windshields, back windows and mirrors. Then there are the ice-covered steps and frozen grab-irons, slippery floors and snow-covered boots.
The opportunities to practice safety are innumerable during winter season. If it gets cold enough you have to be concerned about staying out too long, touching metal and wearing the right clothes. One safety concern in particular s often neglected.
With the snow comes colds and flu. Everyone tries to fight these bugs with off-the-shelf remedies. How often have you taken a cold capsule or other remedy and gone to work? Did you read the label? Did it happen to say, “Do not operate machinery or equipment after taking! May cause drowsiness.” Probably.
It’s something we all do, well maybe 1ot all of us. It’s something we shouldn’t lo. Some of these remedies may have little or no effect on us and our ability to operate cars, trucks, machines or do our job. We may not fall asleep. We might think that because we weigh 200 lbs one little pill can’t hurt us. The fact is that many of these medicines can slow our reflexes or impair our judgment.
There are alternatives that don’t cause drowsiness or produce other negative effects. If you have to work when you’re sick take them instead. Don’t take a chance. When you’re working as part of a group, what you do can and does, affect everyone. If you’re not sure, talk to your doctor and find out if it’s OK to work on or operate a piece of machinery while taking certain medicines or drugs.
This matter could be a topic for a safety meeting. It’s something that people – me included — never think about, but should. Getting behind the wheel of a car, truck or machine is serious business. When we do it we assume responsibility for any and every one who might come in contact with us. Please, don’t take this responsibility lightly.
Safety is not a seasonal activity. Being a safe worker, employer and employee is a year-around requirement. If we expect the company we work for to provide us with the safety gear necessary to do our job, it’s only fair that we show up in condition to do the job.
Remember that clothing should meet existing safety requirements. If safety shoes are required that’s what should be worn. No, gym shoes are not an acceptable substitute. It’s easy to slip on a pair of “sneakers” and not bother changing when you get to work.
(Winter clothing poses more safety hazards than less bulky and restricting summer clothing.)
It’s a lot easier to wear a baseball cap than the hard hat; or forget your safety glasses when you should be wearing them. Being safety conscious isn’t always easy. Sometimes it requires extra effort. But, it’s always worth it.
Safety is an individual commitment. A company is only as safe as the most careless of its employees. Unfortunately, an individual’s dedication to being safe is never as noticeable as one person’s care less conduct.
To be safe, you must think safe, dress safe, act safe and live safe. Being safe is one thing you’ll never live to regret — so is being careless!
That was 1989. Not much has changed, has it?
A Merry and Safe Christmas and Happy and Safe New Year to you and your families.
This editorial appeared in the December 2014 issues of the ACP magazines.