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Toolbox: Job Knowledge – A Key to Job Safety

As far as I can see, we’re all sound in mind and body. I, for one, want to stay that way, and I assume you do too.

Since you began working here, we’ve tried to make you aware of safety. There are signs that tell you about various safety rules, and there are posters that remind you to wear your goggles and hard hats. I call you together for these occasional talks to hammer on the same ideas. The result, I hope, is that all of us are always conscious of the need to be careful in our work, so that we and others do stay safe and healthy.

But maybe we haven’t talked enough about the one thing that can do more to keep you from getting hurt than almost anything else: knowing your job. If you know what you’re doing, chances are you won’t get hurt.

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Knowing your job, of course, includes a lot of things. First, there is the skill you had to learn when you first started the job. Not just anyone can operate a piece of machinery safely. You had to learn the right way to use the equipment.

You also had to learn what you couldn’t do with that machine or piece of equipment. That’s just as important. It’s important to know that a crane can’t handle more than so many pounds of material. It’s important to know that a crescent wrench was never designed to drive nails.

But besides knowing what you can do and can’t do with the equipment and materials you work with, besides having the skill you need to do your work, you also have to know what the dangers of your work are.

For example: If you’re using a grinding wheel, you’ll know that there is danger from flying particles, and you’ll keep a guard in place and wear safety goggles. When you know your job, you know there is good reason for the protective equipment you are required to wear.

The first rule of safety, then, is knowing your job. If you really do know your job, you’ll never get to a point at which you think you’re so skilled that you no longer need to guard against the dangers that are part of the job.

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