Walk the Walk--Don't Just Talk the Talk

Discussion in 'Safety - General Safety Issues' started by Wayne Bowyer, Mar 2, 2008.

  1. Wayne  Bowyer

    Wayne Bowyer Friend of the Community

    I would like to tell of an experience from two days ago. I am the safety manager for a tower construction and service company. I also handle most of the training for our company from climbing and rescue to line and microwave sweeping. As a result of my microwave experience I am often asked to sweep microwave installs for our company plus some others.

    I was asked to sweep the microwave installs on 6 tower sites located fairly close to home. Other tower crews were still in the process of pathing some of these dishes while others crews were still tightening bolts on one of the other towers. All were self support towers.
    On the second site I swept I found a slight connector issue at the dish. The installing crew was still on site so they provided a climber to repair the connector (which he did a very good job I might add). The m/w was at around 70'. All 3 legs had step-bolts and there was a climbing ladder with safety climb cable installed on the face adjacent to the m/w dish. The climber, without hesitation, free-climbed up the leg and proceeded to belt off and work on the connector. I called up and asked him to PLEASE attach his safety lanyard. He responded---Oh, Yeah.........sorry.
    When he finished and came down (free-climbing again) I thanked him for the good and quick job on the connector and then proceeded to lecture him on the idiocy of what he had just done. He apologized and said "I'm sorry you saw that".

    This leads me to the next site later that morning--------this time a different tower company and crew but working on the same microwave project. When I arrived there were 6 men on site with 4 on the tower tightening bolts. Of the 4 men on the steel only one was wearing a hard hat and of those 4 men 3 were free-climbing! There was a young crew member standing near and I asked him if they always worked without hard hats and did they make a habit of free-climbing? His response was "Oh no--we never, never work without hard-hats and we always climb safely-----everyone is ******** certified! I don't know why they aren't wearing them now--first time that has ever happened."

    I have removed the name of the training company mentioned but I know the company and I know they do good work and are good people. The best training in the world is useless if you choose not to use it.

    That particular crew is now looking for work.

    Working safely is not something you do once in a while or just when you happen to think about it. It's not something that you do only when you think someone is watching. It's a habit that you have to foster and encourage. Those of us who are supervisors have a big responsibility to make sure that our tower crew members do what they know to be a best and safe practice. One of the benefits of doing the "right thing" is being able to go home at the end of the day to enjoy our families and be enjoyed by them. The flip side of that is a terrible path of hurt, heartache and seemingly endless criminal liabilities.
    You can't just wear a hard-hat "part-time". You can't practice 100% tie-off "part time". 100% tie off is just that---100% of the time!

    Too many men died last year because they didn't do the "Right Thing". We owe it to ourselves and those we work with and around to look out for each other and protect each other. If I make someone angry because I point out an unsafe act----I can live with that. I couldn't live with myself if I just ignored their unsafe act and it killed them.

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