Some of the more common excuses we hear from people who don’t use proper safety gear are “We’ve done hundreds of jobs and we’ve always been fine!” or “We know what we’re doing and nothing bad has happened!” Every time we hear those words we’re left shaking our heads and thinking “Yeah, nothing bad has happened…yet.” As a fall protection systems provider, we know all too well the tragedies that occur when a company or professional confuses luck with safety precautions.
Why You Shouldn’t Leave Workplace Safety to Chance
Think your experience and absence of workplace accidents justify your minimal safety precautions? Here are 3 cases where established companies and professionals ignored safety regulations and skipped safety gear with dire results:
- In 2015, Kevin Miranda was 45 feet above the ground in the basket of an aerial lift. The company Kevin worked for hadn’t trained him properly on using his fall protection lanyard to stay secured to the basket and, even worse, the company did not follow industry safety standards and chose to operate the lift on uneven ground. The lift was unsteady when it raised Kevin high and ultimately tipped over, crashing to the ground with Kevin inside. Sadly Kevin died due to his injuries. OSHA conducted an investigation into the fatal accident and ruled that had the proper safety precautions been followed the accident would have been avoided.
- In 2002, Eric Giguere was installing water lines in trenches 6 feet deep when the walls of the trench collapsed, crushing him and cutting off his air supply. His coworkers worked quickly to dig him out, but even with their speed he showed no signs of life by the time they pulled him out. Eric’s coworkers began CPR until the ambulance arrived, at which point EMTs rushed him to the hospital. Doctors told Eric’s family that death was a possibility and if he survived there would be brain damage due to oxygen deprivation. Thankfully, Eric survived and while he was recovering in the hospital, the company he worked for delivered a trench box to the work site so that employees could finish the job with the proper safety measures in place.
- In 2015, construction worker Jorge Carrion Torres was applying stucco underlayment to an apartment complex’s exterior balconies when he lost his footing and fell 3 stories to his death. It was uncovered that Jorge’s employers hadn’t installed proper scaffolding in addition to neglecting to provide Jorge and his coworkers with any fall protection equipment. It’s a well-known that even a short fall can result in injury or death (in 2014 alone the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 191 people lost their lives falling from 10 feet – the height of a basketball hoop – or less.), so the fact that Jorge’s company had him 3 stories high without scaffolding or safety gear is egregious.
The employers in the cases above had a simple task – follow the rules; all they had to do was invest in the proper safety equipment and operate according to safety regulations. Instead, the companies chose to risk their workers’ lives by leaving safety to chance.
Are You Using the Proper Safety Equipment?
You might be experienced, but if you don’t use proper safety gear you’re not safe, you’re just darn lucky. And luck doesn’t hold out, so at some point you’re gonna find yourself or a coworker injured – or worse – and you’re going to regret assuming that an accident would never happen because it hadn’t happened yet.
Not sure what the proper safety equipment is for your workplace? Contact Tritech and let safety professionals assist you with ensuring your workers’ safety and maintaining your company’s integrity.
To learn about workplace safety, visit OSHA Safety Training – OSCA provides computer based training and safety training for OSHA requirements.