The alarm clock goes off. It's 4:45 a.m., and you hit the
snooze button to give yourself an extra 15 minutes of
sleep. But, do you really go back to sleep, or do you
subconsciously start planning the day ahead of you?
Are you thinking about how you and your team are
going to install that Hollister-Whitney machine in the overhead,
or topping off the rails in the #3 shaft or about that text message
you received last night from one of your men informing you that
he will be out sick today? Maybe you're thinking about the
conversation you had yesterday with that angry building
manager, talking your ear off about the
freight elevator that was shut down. He
has three moves this weekend and is
ticked that no one from your company
showed up to address the problem.
And then there's your family. You
promised your daughter/son at dinner
last night that you would make it to her
music recital or his baseball game this
afternoon. You've missed the last one
and promised yourself it wouldn't happen again. You know
you've got to get home early today, and now you're running late,
because you actually did fall back to sleep when you hit the
snooze button. All this rattling around in your head before
you've even gotten out of the house and into your car/truck to
start your day.
Whether it's a work situation, family concern or illness, your
emotions can, and do, run high. It's during these moments that
you need to give yourself a timeout so you can calm down and
get your feelings in check. When you or a team member have
something other than the work at hand on your minds, it will
impact how you execute a task, and that could affect the way you
approach the task, which could result in an injury.
When your mind is running around in circles, not focused on
the task at hand, you need to reset your thought process before
proceeding. This will allow you time to make decisions, or
deliver responses, in a thoroughly thought-out manner. Now is
not the time to shoot from the hip.
All of the above can contribute, in
either a positive or negative way, to the
way you view and approach your day's
activities. I am sure you can think of
one near miss you experienced in your
career. In the elevator industry, far too
often we hear of someone who has
been seriously injured or killed,
whether it's in our hometown or on the
other side of the world. The fact that
we work in such a dangerous trade should be, in itself, enough to
give us pause and make sure our minds are focused on the task at
We'd like to pose this question to you: Do you always think
things through, or do you sometimes simply react,
automatically? When you think things through, you allow
yourself the necessary time to clearly define and identify the
proper steps to take in a particular situation by asking:
* Which personal protective equipment (PPE) should you and
your team be wearing?
* Which tools are required?
* Which safety processes will need to be followed to ensure the
task is completed successfully and without injury?
When you react without thinking, an accident can occur. You
are like a pool player who, before he takes his first shot, is already
thinking about the second, third and so on. He has to do this to
continuously have good ball position. Consider, though, if he is
worrying about his second shot while he is taking his first, the
results could be a missed first shot.
When we take that same scenario to the motor room, hoistway
or car top where you are about to perform a routine task, thinking
about one thing while doing another could contribute to an injury.
As so often occurs in our trade, when someone experiences a
serious or fatal accident, we attempt to understand the thought
processes of those involved. Was the task planned out, or was it just
a series of unplanned steps in a process that, once set in motion,
led to an automatic reaction that then led to an injury?
In closing, we ask all of you to have a clear mind and take
proactive safety measures before planning out the work for both
you and your crew and by asking five simple questions:
1) Has a hazard analysis been conducted before setting up any
2) Is all the proper PPE for the task at hand and being worn?
3) Was the needed training or direction for the task received from
your manager, supervisor, superintendent or foreman?
4) Does everyone understand their role(s) today?
5) Are you and your team mentally prepared to perform the task?
The reward for answering "yes" to these questions is to be there
on time to attend your daughter's recital or son's baseball game, or
just to return home to your family, safe and sound. Remember,
your family depends on you!
Ray Downs is senior vice president of Environmental, Health and Safety
Control at TEI Group. He has more than three decades of experience in
environmental health and safety programs, human resources and product
management. He holds numerous professional certifications, including
from the OSHA Training Institute.
Robert Pitney is a director at TEI Group, where he is tasked with bringing
increased efficiency and effectiveness to the company. He has an
extensive background developing, managing and troubleshooting
information-technology systems, and has had numerous articles on
enterprise resource planning published.
Source: Elevator World May 2017