Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Five questions to ask before starting work

Usually during the first toolbox meeting or "Take 5" (that's what they call toolbox meeting during my time in shipyard), it's always very natural to be awkward as everyone is strange with each another. Personally, I usually use these 5 questions to break the ice on translating safety awareness to them for the first time. I'll begin with...

Before you start your assigned task, it's important to ask yourself

Q1. Based on the assign task, what could go wrong?
  1. Will I be caught in, on under or between?
  2. Will I be in contact with chemical, heat, electricity or sharp item?
  3. Will I be strike against or by item or object?
  4. Will I fall from the same level or from elevation?
  5. Will I overexert which led to sprain, strain, repetitive motion or excessive noise?

Q2. Why am I doing this job this way? Is there a safer way to do it?

Q3. How could doing it this way hurt me or others?

Q4. How can I do it more safely?

Q5. What am I going to do to protect myself / others?

Only by having answering all these 5 questions with positive replies, you can be certain that your assigned task is safe to proceed. It's most encourage to have a open discussion with your colleagues. Ensure them that they have the right to refuse any jobs that could endanger their life or health. Ensure them that with their reasonable reasons, they will not be penalised for refusing to proceed with the assign task. I'd met too many workers who are afraid to say no to their unethical employer as they are afraid that they might be send back to their hometown or be sack for refusing a job. With such fear in them, it's just another accident waiting to happen. As a Safety Officer, it's our job to protect and ensure that the workers are able to complete their assigned tasks without compromising their safety. Complacent takes your job, ethic protects your conscience.

Work safe, Be safe.