Watch out for ‘Just be careful’

by on March 31, 2015 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: Workplace Safety Network

There’s an old safety saying: “Be careful” really means “Just don’t get hurt.” The idea is that warnings about safety hazards don’t do enough. You have to fix the problem.

A recent case shows the idea underlying this: A western Pennsylvania roofing contractor sent a worker out to a residence. Power lines at 7,200 volts ran close to the roof where the worker would need to work. His aluminum ladder contacted the power line, and the worker was electrocuted.

Three days later, the same company sent another worker to complete the work, under substantially the same conditions. (OSHA issued a $67k fine for exposing workers to electrical hazards.)

You can hear the advice before the worker left: “Be careful around those power lines.” That’s not enough. The worker needs to do a job-hazard analysis to figure out how to avoid or abate the hazard, so he stays safe even if he makes a mistake.

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