HSfB Blog

Safety at Home and Work

People who are risk aware (like us H&S types) are probably quite careful at home too.

A common perception seems to be that "it's common sense" that if I don't take any safety measures at home when I'm doing something, I shouldn't expect my employer to insist on me taking precautions, besides I hate those earplugs, can't hear the radio with them in.

I used to get a giggle from my kids when they saw me wearing safety glasses when I painted a ceiling, paint in the eyes is such a pain.

I think the risks are much greater at work not because the tasks are any different, but because the number of times per day those tasks are performed is much greater, and I'm often close to other people doing things that present a hazard to me, or who distract me.

I freely admit that when I'm chopping vegetables or slicing up a chicken with a big sharp knife (sorry vegeteranians but I do) I don't wear gloves at home... but then I'm only doing the task for a few minutes at home, and I sharpened the knife, and I'm not going to be distracted.

Working in a kitchen, or a butcher would be a very different kettle of fish .. ahem .. so so speak.. since I'll be doing a lot more chopping, doing it to a deadline, have some poncy TV chef shouting and swearing at me from the door (to motivate me), and have loads of other things going on in my head like (how long has that steak got to go... how fast can I cook a french omlette .. who's turn is it to load the dishwasher tonight... etc) so if the chopping can be done by a machine, that's so much better... I don't like blood on the salad onions, and if it can't be done by a machine then gimme a glove so I don't slice my thumb when someone drops a tray on the floor.
When I stand on a chair to change a bulb at home (I don't really, I can reach them all) I recognise that I'm taking my life in my hands for my own benefit...

That's not the case at work, there employees take their lives in their own hands (or the company's hands) for the benefit of the company, and it's our job as managers to make sure they go home at least as healthy as they arrived.