Jake was in a hurry. He figured he could complete the a/c service job he had started the day before and still get to the next job before coffee break. Jake got right to work. In his rush to finish, he shut off power at the unit, but did not lock out the unit or check its power supply for stored energy—doing that would have slowed him down.
As Jake reached into the unit, he contacted a capacitor charged to 280 volts and got the shock of his life. He was knocked backward and hit his head. He cut his head and got severe electrical burns on his hand. He was lucky—it could have been much worse.
Accidents cost more than just money
A simple two-minute check to see if the unit was locked out would have saved Jake a lot of pain and suffering. But, it’s not just Jake who was affected.
The ripple effect from an accident like Jake’s goes deeper than just the obvious costs. It can create morale and productivity issues—after all, the company is now short a worker. That could result in lost business, which equates to lost revenue. And that could lead to layoffs or reduced wages or benefits. Plus, frequent insurance claims can mean the company has to pay higher premium. In other words, the more money spent on insurance, the less of it there is for employees.
Jake knew better. But, he decided the risk was worth it to save some time. In the end, it cost him and his employer.
It’s everyone’s responsibility to be on the lookout for hazards, both for themselves and their co-workers. A job site is an active, busy place. But, it’s important to remember that no matter how busy the day gets, safety should always be at the top of the list of job duties. It never hurts to be reminded to be more safety conscious.
- Keep a constant lookout—front, sides, back, above, and below.
- Watch for anything moving: other people, vehicles, hoists, machines, etc.
- While driving, watch for people who aren’t paying attention.
- If you’re working above others, watch where you drop things.
- If you’re working below others, make sure anyone working above you knows you’re there.
- Watch your step. Know where skylights and roof edges are.
- Be deliberate about safety when using a ladder.
- Learn about and protect yourself from the risks inherent to each task.
Workers mindful of potential job site dangers can help protect themselves and others—and, essentially, their livelihood. Ignoring hazards or taking shortcuts is never worth it. Just ask Jake.
Safe@Work is brought to you by Federated Insurance®. This article is for general information and recommendations regarding risk prevention only and should not be considered legal or other expert advice. The recommendations presented may help reduce or eliminate the risk of loss, but are not guaranteed to do so. Seek qualified counsel with questions specific to your circumstances. ©2018 Federated Mutual Insurance Company.