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In the city I live, in and around every factory and construction site I visited, I saw the most common sign “SAFETY FIRST” displayed in the most prominent locations such as the main entrance. In the sign there are also pictures and wordings showing mandatory requirement of wearing safety shoes, safety glasses, safety helmet etc in the premises.

How many, however, are really putting SAFETY FIRST in their works? In the construction sites, unfortunately, many of them do not.  Many workers do not wear safety shoes (perhaps except the engineers and may be the supervisors).

It is also not uncommon seeing workers working at height do not wear safety harness for fall protection.  Many of them do wear safety helmet, nowadays, but I believe most of them do not wear them properly according to safety standard. Do you know that the helmet will not give you maximum protection if you do not wear them properly? And do you know how to wear your safety helmet safely?

Recently, I visited a local educational institute.  In a practical class, students were learning using drilling and cutting machines.  You know what?  Only one of them was wearing safety glasses.  At first I thought may be safety glasses were not given to them. But then I saw a box at the center of the table.  In the box there are the safety glasses.

Later on, I found out from the class-in-charge that safety glasses was given to all of them and safety briefing was in fact given to all the students, by the lecturer, when they came to attend the first practical class.

Why then that the students were not wearing the safety glasses when they were using the drilling and cutting machines?

Knowing the problem, the class-in-charge took the box and asked the students to put on the safety glasses.  Some did as they are told but still many did not follow the instruction.

As far as safety is concerned, especially for the students who enrolled to the course learning how to use drilling and cutting machines, for example, safety must be emphasized in the first place.  The students should be all wearing the safety glasses before they were allowed to handle or to move near to see the demonstrations.

As most of the students were still not wearing the safety glasses even after the class-in-charge took the box and asked them to put them on.  I doubted the effectiveness of the safety briefing given to the students when they attended the first class.

I do not think that the students should be blamed for not wearing the safety glasses in this case.

After some discussion with the officer who was in charge of the safety of the practical classes, I was asked for my opinions on how to improve the safety standards of the class.

First I told them it is not at all difficult to impose safety regulations or rules to the students.  They should be taught not only the skills they need for their future careers but the safety aspects too.  At this point, I strongly recommended that safety should be included to the learning syllabus.

I recommended that a safety program should be written and implemented.  The program should at least include:

  1. The name of the program, for example, “Eye protection program for practical Lab Class”.
  2. Purpose of the program
  3. The program administrator – who shall run the program
  4. Identification and risk assessment of hazards
  5. Engineering and structural controls
  6. Existing safety procedures, if any
  7. Additional safety procedures needed, if any
  8. Selection of PPE – criteria of selection, market survey, potential suppliers.
  9. Training –  Selection, use of PPE, maintenance etc,
  10. Maintenance and house keeping
  11. Motivation – how to answer and entertain complains
  12. Record keeping and monitoring of the program

After running the program, every one concerned will know exactly what they should know and should do when they attend the class.  When the students came for the class, they will receive a pair of safety glasses in a clean and good working condition. (Wearing a pair of glasses with scratches and stains will impair visions and cause accident.) An officer-in-charge shall be there to give each student the glasses when they enter the classroom..

There should be a safety glasses cleaning and maintenance program too that includes:

  1. After each class, the safety glasses should be returned for checking and cleaning.
  2. Damaged glasses should be discarded and replaced.
  3. Cleaning procedure and anti-fog application
  4. The safety glasses after cleaning should be kept in box or cabinet away from dust and chemicals.

More than one model or sizes of safety glasses may be made available to provide best facial fitting to the students for maximum comfort and safety.  It may be good to see everyone, tall or short, thin or fat, wearing only one type or model of safety glasses for the sack of uniformity despite of the differences in facial configurations.  A pairs of nice looking glasses fitted well on your face may not suit me because I have a smaller or flatter nose.  The glasses will drop and most likely rest and press on my cheek. Not only uncomfortable or pain on my cheek, the glasses may not give me the protection I need.

The written safety program must be made clearly known to all concerned and written in easy to understand language.  It should be accessible to all.

Knowing that safety is part of their learning syllabus and what to do exactly when they are coming for the class, I believe that the student will all comply with the requirement and wear their safety glasses at all time.  They should feel comfortable after learning to accept certain degree of discomfort for the sake of safety.  They will not complain any more because their complaints on discomfort are all being entertained and well answered.

On the other hand, the officer in charge is happy because his job is done.

Everyone, the students, the lecturer, the class-in-charge and even me as a supplier of the safety glasses will be happy because there is a WRITTEN safety program running.

Related posts:

  1. One Type For All?
  2. Writing Your Factory’s Own Safety Programme
  3. Wearing gloves to serve food?
  4. Safety in Your First Job
  5. Tanizawa Lightweight & Heat Resistant Safety Helmet with EPA Buckle.

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