We must learn to prevent accidents

Each year in Canada, people are injured and others are killed by accidents that could have been prevented. In fact, 90 percent of all accidents are predictable and, with proper education, largely preventable.
Falling into an open manhole or sewer, being crushed by some heavy item, or injured because you didn’t lockout is rare. But accidents like this do happen–and many times they are fatal!
Take manholes and sewers, for example. How many times have you seen a manhole cover off on the street or a sewer grating lying beside the opening?
More than likely you have seen this type of hazard. But how many of us, as caregivers, have told children to beware of these openings and to never walk or play near these areas.
These openings are confined spaces. If someone were to fall into one of these confined spaces, the fall could injure a person or be fatal. The atmosphere also may be unsuitable to sustain life!
If you ever see an open manhole or sewer, report it immediately to the Public Works department, the fire department, or the police department. And warn others to stay away!
< *c>Crushing prevention
Over the years, I have seen and heard of accidents involving someone being crushed. Many times, no one would have ever imagined that they could have happened.
Children have been injured by opening the bottom drawer of a stove or oven and standing on it. It tips over and crushes the child.
Another story is of a child that opened a tool chest drawer to stand on. The tool chest tipped over and pinned the child up against a vehicle.
A few years ago, a two-year-old boy was killed in the United States. He apparently pulled a 27-inch television set down on top of himself.
If you have any heavy items that could possible tip over, it is a good idea if possible to secure them to the wall.
People working on their vehicles also have been crushed because all they relied on was the jack to hold it up. They never blocked the vehicle.
Following proper safety precautions could have prevented all of these accidents. Then again, safety education is the key to eliminating many of these accidents.
Sadly, safety education doesn’t usually happen until after an accident has happened!
< *c>Lockout
A simple definition of lockout is a specific set of procedures for ensuring that a machine, once shut down for maintenance, repair, or other reason, is secured against accidental start-up or movement of any of its parts for the length of the shutdown.
Having stated that, how many of us ensure we lockout a piece of equipment, machine, etc. before working on it?
When working on a piece of equipment, either at work, on the farm, or at home, realize the following energy types, which are electrical, hydraulic and/or pneumatic (air), chemicals, fluids and gases, and mechanical.
For electrically-driven equipment, unplugging or shutting off the breaker at the main electrical panel is important for personal protection.
Relieve stored energy in lines, cylinders, etc. prior to working on equipment. Lower to stops or supports any equipment subject to dropping, moving, or springing.
Again, ensure a zero energy state.
When working on a lawnmower, it is good practice to disconnect the spark plug wire so to prevent accidental start-up–even if it is the newer type with the safety release bar on the handle.
Remember, if you never need what you learn about personal safety, you have lost nothing. But if you never learn what you need, you may lose everything . . . your family and your life!

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