Work Smart. Work Safe.
Keep your "Heads Up" and work safe!

Work Safe Work Smart Episode 2: Vance vs. the 500 lb pipe!

By: Christopher Vervoorst

We’ve all been there. There’s ten minutes before your shift ends and tomorrow is your day off. You just want to get the job done and get home. You stop thinking and maybe even start to cut a few corners just so you can leave on time.

My friend Vance knows all too well what can happen if you start to rush things. He recently came by to share his story.

Vance and I talking about safety.

Confession Time

Vance used to work as a forklift operator for a shipping company. Basically, his job was to move stuff from ‘point a’ to ‘point b’.

Well, one day, at the end of his shift, Vance decided he would get his last load done quickly so he could go home. It just so happened that his last load was a 500 pound piece of pipe.


Safety never crossed his mind

All he had to do was put it on his forklift, move it 200 yards, and load it in to the dock. Then he would be done and he could go home and relax. He knew how to do this; he’d done it many times before.

Vance went to maneuver the pipe on his forklift, but he wasn’t able to get the pipe on to his forks. So, thinking that he just wanted to get this shift over with, he decided that he’d take the pipe, push it on to the forks and then maneuver. Well, this may have seemed like a great idea at the time, but Vance forgot about three things:

1.Was it safe to be doing this by himself?

2.Was there anyone around to help him if he got hurt?

And, most importantly:

3.The pipe was 500 pounds!

This is a situation where the best thing to do is stop and think, maybe get some help. As you can imagine, Vance’s plan didn’t work out too well. Vance managed to get the pipe onto his forks and went to maneuver it. To do this, he put his hands underneath the pipe. He never even thought about being safe. Things happened fast. The pipe fell off of his forks and landed on his finger, breaking it in two places and bursting the tip of his finger due to all the pressure.

In Vance’s words “A very painful experience.”

Let’s just say I don’t think he’ll ever think of moving a 500 pound pipe with his hands ever again.

I know that this story may have been a little bit graphic, but that’s the reality with injuries. We all do things without thinking, but not thinking about your safety can lead to some brutal injuries and even death. Vance is lucky that it was just one finger that got squished. It could have been both of his hands.

The thing is that sometimes it might not be you that gets hurt. The reality is this: you don’t just have your life in your hands.

Stay alert, ask questions, get some help, don’t cut corners on the job site and make sure to keep your “Heads Up” out there

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