Do You See What I See?
By Etelvina Gutierrez
Go, go, go! That’s me. Every… Single... Day. I’m a mother of 5, yes five, I am married to my husband of 16 years, I have a full time job, and I try my best to add in some gym time.
In the midst of all this; with my husband being a major safety geek, I also began to dip my fingers into the world of safety. Approximately 13 years ago, I became intrigued and more involved with Safety. I would tag along and go to classes with him to learn about things such as; Bloodborne Pathogens, Industrial Hygiene, Life Safety Code, Incident Investigation, completed the OSHA 30, and much more.
Later on I became a Safety Administrator which helped me to grasp the concept of what safety really is. I would see firsthand employees coming in and out of the first aid office from minor injuries that would have been so simple to avoid. But because of the “corners” they loved to cut, they would in turn cut their finger(s) because they felt like gloves were unnecessary, get an unknown particle in their eye due to no eye protection, trip and fall because no one picked up the debris off the ground like they were supposed to.
That was about 5 years ago and it has stuck with me throughout my years. I now find myself watching people on the side of road working with no orange cones up, lacking high visibility vests, and so close to the roads. Even though, between 2003-2010 over 900 workers were killed at road construction sites. https://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2013/article/an-analysis-of-fatal-occupational-injuries-at-road-construction-sites-2003-2010.htm. I will see workers at stores hanging off the side of ladder on their tip toes. Regardless of how many workers fall off of ladders in the retail industry. In addition, fatal falls have increased by 26% from 2011-2016 https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2018/fatal-work-related-falls-to-a-lower-level-increased-26-percent-from-2011-to-2016.htm?view_full
Just the other day as I’m pulling into a hotel, there’s a man on a JLG aerial lift without a harness.
There is a gentleman at the bottom chatting away with him. The man above is paying no mind and my daughters asked me, ”How can that guy be up there and not worry that he’s going to fall and hurt himself?” All I could do was shrug my shoulders. This is beyond me since about 26 workers die every year from aerial lifts. https://www.safetyandhealthmagazine.com/articles/17273-the-hazards-of-aerial-lift-work. I will also add that I told my husband to fire him, haha. I greeted the gentleman that was up there and lost the nerve to ask him why he didn’t have a harness. After all, I’m just a female guest, staying in the hotel. I walked away feeling a sense of regret. How many times do we see something and look away? How many times do we look away and someone gets hurt because we didn’t speak up?
It takes that one time to change one thing and possibly create a safer atmosphere for someone. Even if it’s a neighbor that has no eye protection while mowing the lawn or possibly doing woodwork with no gloves. For you gym lovers, if you see someone lifting improperly give them some advice! It’s so simple yet we get so caught up with our hectic lives that we (including myself) fail to look around us and see how we can help out someone.
In conclusion, I just encourage you to try to see what I see; make the first move and speak up. We all have to start somewhere.