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

Work Safe Work Smart Episode 3: The hazards of the punch-style box technique!

By: Christopher Vervoorst

Do you feel safe at work? Do you actually stop to think about it?

It’s not something that you usually think about. Why should you have to?

If your “spidey sense” is tingling, you should ask questions to make sure you understand the job, how to do it properly and what help is available. Your “spidey sense” is telling you to stop and think about safety.

My friend Scott has worked many different jobs and just recently became an emergency medical responder (EMR). When he looks back at some of the unsafe stuff he did in the past, he’s ashamed of himself for not realizing his risk.

He’s so ashamed!


 Scott has worked at eight different jobs in the last five years, everything from coffee shops to grocery stores to construction sites. Because he has worked so many places, we are going to do two confessions this week.

 Confession Time

The Clothes Rack Climb

When Scott worked at a clothing store, one of his jobs was to restock the clothing supply on the floor. In order to do this, he had to get the new clothes from racks in the back.

Here’s the thing, though. To get the clothes off the higher racks, everyone just climbed the rack itself.

These racks were ten feet high and sometimes would have multiple people climbing on them at once. Sometimes Scott would jump between shelves if he needed to grab multiple items.

Scott said he never really thought about safety. He just did what everyone else did. Sounds like a cliché, but it’s what most of us would do. Isn’t it?

The Cheese Box

Strangely enough, the only time that Scott has ever injured himself at work was at his very first job working as a stock boy at a grocery store.

Young Scott was unloading cheese from the freezer and, after he was done, he had to break down the box so that it could go in the compactor.

If you’ve ever tried to break down a box, you know that the tape is a pain to get through and is almost impossible to break with your hands. This is why box cutters were invented.

Well, apparently Scott didn’t have any box cutters on him, so he decided to start punching the box UFC-style in order to bust the tape. You can see this is not a good idea.

As you can imagine, the punching didn’t quite work out for him. After several hard punches the box just wouldn’t break so Scott decided to give up and finally grab a cutter. It was at this point that he noticed that he couldn’t move his finger. He looked at it and saw that the bone on his index finger was sticking out. He had dislocated it. He then decided that the best course of action was to pop it back in.

Lessons Learned

The funny thing about both of his stories is that Scott should have known better but, as young workers, do we ever stop to think about this stuff? You can’t always blindly follow others – they may not know what they are doing either.

As I’ve said before the alternative to not asking questions or speaking up about safety is risk of injury and maybe death. You tell me what’s more important:

Looking like you know what you’re doing when you don’t? Or Living?

Keep in mind that even though you may be young, you have to be able to think for yourself and remember to keep your “Head Up” out there.

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