Past success is not always an indicator of future safety. Situations change, times change, you change.

I RESOLVE . . . to be Safe in 2011

Let's talk about what you can do to change your behavior so you can be injury free at home, work, and anywhere in 2011.

It's that time of year when everyone seems to make new resolutions. It's a good idea to make a resolution for change any time that you notice the need to improve. Since it's January, let's go ahead and talk about what you can do to change your behavior so you can be injury free at home, work, and anywhere in 2011.

Consider these seven resolutions to be safe in 2011:

1. I resolve . . . to accept responsibility for my safety and to help others around me do the same.
Take time to examine your attitude about safety. Do you recognize that you must take responsibility for your own safety, or are you one of those who think that "stuff just happens?" You have a lot of control over what happens to you.

2. I resolve . . . to take time for safety every day.
Have you ever thought about how much time it takes to be safe? Sometimes, it can take quite a bit of time to maintain equipment, review the job to understand the hazards that must be controlled or abated, gather the proper protective equipment, and ensure everyone is trained for the work. If you recognize that these tasks are part of the overall job and not just "safety add-ons," you'll find that you will make the time to be safe. There's not time for shortcuts when it comes to safety.

3. I resolve . . . to make safety a team effort.
Even if you work alone, as many field workers do, safety requires a team of people to make it happen. Think about the people who design your work. Do they understand what the hazards are? Maybe not. What can you do to help them gain greater understanding? What about others who do the same type of work and also work alone? Consider finding ways to share your ideas about safety with them every week or even every day. If you work with a team of people on a regular basis, discuss safety aspects of the work before the job ever starts. This can be done during the job briefing or tail gate session.

4. I resolve . . . to recognize and control all hazards I encounter on the job and at home.
Hazard recognition and control is the foundation of a safe workplace and a safe home. Train your mind to recognize hazards that you may have walked by day after day or even year after year. Then control the hazards you see by guarding them and then fixing them. OSHA is emphasizing a "find and fix" approach in the workplace to eliminate injury. You can do the same at your home.

5. I resolve . . . to adapt to changes in technology, training, and techniques to be a safer worker.
You may have done your job for many, many years without injury. Past success isn't always an indicator of future safety. Situations change, times change, you change. Think about the technology that you use in all aspects of your lives. What new technology is available to help you do your job in a safe manner? Are you still learning everything you can to do a better job? By being willing to consider new ideas and implement appropriate change, you may be able to virtually eliminate injury in your workplace.

6. I resolve . . . to get involved in the safety process.
One of the hallmarks of a safe workplace is employee involvement. You know your job better than anyone else. You understand the hazards and how to protect yourself. What are you doing to share this information with others? You can get involved by conducting a vehicle or equipment inspection, inspecting your work facility, taking a training course, reporting a hazard, leading a safety meeting, or any number of other activities. Consider the contributions you can make so your workplace will continue to be a safe one.

7. I resolve . . . to be a safety champion.
Think about anyone you know who is a true champion for workplace safety. What are the qualities this person exhibits? A champion is one who does all he or she can to ensure successful outcome of the goal. If you focus on the goal of zero injuries in your workplace and do what you can toward that goal, you are a safety champion. You can make a real difference.

Safety is a never-ending process. While we can set numeric goals and track statistics, we never "arrive." The safety goal starts over every day, every job. You have what it takes to make a difference in the safety of yourself, your family, and your co-workers. What do you resolve to do in 2011 to reach the goal that nobody gets hurt?

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