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Safety Professional - When did this become a profession?

Greetings Scaffs from around the globe and here at home. This started out to be a rant about how I don't think safety should be it's own profession (and cue the angry e-mails) and I sat back to ponder the roots of the average Safety Professional. In my mental timeline retrace of the possible origins of the Safety Professional I could only come to one logical conclusion about how "Safety and Compliance" could become a stand alone, salaried, I get paid just like everyone else, position. The conclusion I came to, unfotunatley for most of us, is we asked for it. That's right. You, me and the millions of other "professionals" that have our moments where we don't act so professional asked those lovely people up in the mother ship (corporate office) to hire a police force to make sure we don't kill ourselves.

Now, unfortunately for us, when we asked for it I think we should have put qualifiers, or conditions on it. Like the following qualifiers:

1- if you are going to work safety in a particular trade, like ours, you should have to work in the trade for at least a year. I'm not talking about just being on a job site. I'm talking you should have to spend a year with a client telling you how to do your job, your Foreman yelling at you because your taking too long and all the while you are dragging the material up five flights of stairs because the elevator is too small to fit the gear into. This puts a whole new perspective on " is that one brace really necessary?"

2- if you are going to train people who actually know how to do the subject you are "training" them on, you had probably better do a little more research than what the one book you were told to use says. Everybody makes mistakes, but if you keep arguing the same incorrect point, you look like an idiot no matter what the book says. Scaffold builders are a tough crowd, and they will pounce on an incorrect statement like a shark that smells blood in the water.if you don't know the answer for sure and the 7 other people in the room tell you thats it's wrong, digress and admit its wrong and then make a note of it so you don't try to teach the same incorrect point the next time we have to take the class. Once is a honest mistake, more than twice is just a lack of passion for the subject matter.
3 - If you are on a "policy and procedure" board, comitte or whatever they call these things, never ever,ever,ever, under any circumstances hunt flies with a shotgun. Think about it. If you have a localized problem, solve it locally. If the guys in the bayou in Louisiana are having trouble with the local gator population, require them to wear protective gator boots. Not everyone in the company nationwide. I don't know that gator boots would be that effective in the desert of New Mexico.

4-Avoid the knee jerk reaction. If you hear about an incident and your first reaction is ??? Stop take a breath and calm down and apply a little common sense. This will save all of us a lot of grief in the long run.

5- Stop thinking you can make us safer by tying more stuff to us. Between tool lanyards and fall protection gear your average scaffold builder now has more than 15 snagging points that can cause a tool or a person to fall. I believe this was the spirit of the "greater hazard" sentence in the fall protection standard. This also lines the pockets of everyone except those who you are supposed to making safer.

So in summation, maybe we should all communicate better before writing impractical and rediculous rules and regulations to actually make the industry safe. Sorry if you have been offended by my latest rant, but at least it made you think about it enough to get offended:)



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Comment by H HD high hj NC gg on July 16, 2012 at 9:28pm

Good points JW, I've always wondered why we couldn't just sign waivers saying we fully understand the risks we are taking by not wearing certain safety gear and that all injuries or deaths are 100% our fault and the company cannot be found liable and can't be reprimanded with OSHA recordables. I mean as long as they provided all the necessary training and safety gear for the job then its on us if we decide not to use it. I remember a couple years ago i did a shutdown and united/anco brought a safety guy from texas who from what i heard had just started riggin a year earlier, i built a hanger that went out 7' and did the 45's with right angles instead of swivels, ive done them both ways but i just happened to have right angles and an extra 13' tube. He says the only acceptable way is using braces doubled up on the leg.........i've seen it done that way too but thats always an absolute last resort, he had the nerve to tell me that and walked off shaking his head. I was an apprentice then and even i knew there's 20 different ways to build a scaffold.



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