November 01, 2016
By Anthony DuChene
Safety a noun: “The condition of being protected from or unlikely to cause danger, risk, or injury.” Safety is important for any job, no matter what. While working we all want to feel safe from harm; harm from others or harm from the environment. As such, I take with great pride and humility to keep others safe from any danger and appreciate any input or information I receive as it makes the job that much safer for everyone. There are a number of things that can be done to make the job safe, including dealing with hazards inside and out.
When dealing with safety outside the building, one of the easiest things to do is to keep walkways clear. This is done by shoveling snow, salting and scraping ice, sweeping and moving twigs, leaves and branches. That may just be the tip of the iceberg however, as even the clearest sidewalks may be a bit dicey as there may be cracks in them. At which point I find some neon orange spray paint and mark it so at the very least it will be noticeable and avoidable. It’s true to say that falls are something none of us want, and by taking a few small steps they can be avoided. Another example of an outdoor hazard may be the culvert under part of the driveway the buses drive on. This is where reflectors were placed so the culvert can be avoided and prevent damage to it and possibly other vehicles.
Moving onto the inside of the building, there are a myriad of things to keep track of, but with everyone’s help, it is easier to manage. One of the first things I like to keep track of is one of the most noticeable, the ceiling lights. Ensuring sufficient lighting is one of the easiest ways to prevent falls or other injuries, along with keeping walkways free of obstruction. It is also important to ensure that fire extinguishers and emergency lights are in working order. On a quarterly basis (as a member of the safety committee), I go through the building and the buses to check the pressure on fire extinguishers and check the tags to make sure they are not expired and whether or not they need to be serviced or replaced. With the emergency lights (which light during any power outage), I go around the building and test them and correct any that need maintenance, usually by changing the battery. Ensuring that electrical outlets are functioning properly is also very important. Some months ago a loose outlet was detected and an order was put in to replace it. Loose outlets can cause electrical arching, a fire hazard. A number of chemicals are used here and these are kept locked up to prevent them from being consumed. The stove and the oven in the kitchen are kept clear to prevent a fire there.
All these jobs seem large, but oftentimes even just the smallest of tasks make for a safer environment. Cleaning up spills, blocking off wet floors, keeping walkways clear, locking up chemicals, keeping the stove clear, all assist to maintain a safe environment. By working together we all make sure that both we and our clients are safe so we can all work together without worry of danger.