Approach Management

Hidden Dangers

Below are true stories of real life hidden dangers we are potentially exposed to every day. How can we protect ourselves from hidden dangers? 



A worker entered a store’s freezer that needed repaired. On the freezer door scribbled on a piece of paper said," bad stuff in there". As the employee enter the freezer, he felt light headed and immediately turned around and passed out. Fortunately, as he turned around, the weight of his body opened the door as he passed out, falling into the open air keeping him alive. The dry ice being used to keep freezer cold was off gassing creating a hazardous atmosphere.

An employee was driving home, he notices a fire in the bushes off to the side of the road. He stopped and went to try and put the fire out. As he approached the fire he was electrocuted due to a downed power line that was arching and causing the fire.

A foreman was scheduled to work in a stair shaft. Demolition was being done above. The foreman had an uneasy feeling and pulled his guys out of the area. Something did not seem right. Within a couple of minutes, the scaffolding they would have been standing on collapsed down the shaft. If the workers would have been on the scaffold, they would have suffered a serious injury and possibly fatal due to hidden damage to the scaffold.

These stories are examples of hidden dangers we are potentially exposed to every day. How can we protect ourselves from hidden dangers? 

Here are a couple of things to look for:

STOP – observe the area before proceeding
Poor housekeeping is often a high danger sign.
Lack of or improper warning signage
Beware of cluttered material storage areas.
Careless handling of materials.
Improper or defective tools being used
Lack of machine guarding; failure to install warning systems.
Lack of or failure to wear proper personal protection equipment.
The weather, wind, ice, rain, or sun (such as low sun).
Worker not dressed or wearing the right PPE for the job to be done.
Bad attitude or failure to follow instructions.
That uneasy feeling might be that sixth sense you should be acting on.

Steps to take once an unsafe condition is found:

If possible, correct the condition yourself immediately.
Report any major unsafe condition or action to the appropriate company authority.
Follow-up – report the condition again if it is not corrected

Safety is not a hobby, it’s a living.

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