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10 days of bulls, buckin’ and safety!

By Jay Zacharopoulos

In this week’s edition of the safety stories we’re paying tribute to the 100th anniversary of the Calgary Stampede. These 10 days of rambunctious ridin’ and ropin’ can leave anyone beaten and bruised, and we’re not just talking about the bull fighters (party tents, anyone?).

If you have been fortunate enough to get down to the stampede grounds and check out the rodeo, you’ve probably wondered how these men and women make a career out of such a dangerous activity. The average bull weighs between 1800 and 2000 pounds which, mixed with the intense rage brought on by the rider, is enough to cause some serious damage. However, these crazy competitors don’t take anything for granted and always come prepared with neck braces, shoulder/chest padding and spin protectors.

While the hazards of riding may be the extreme end of the spectrum, you should never forget that personal protective equipment is a good idea in any situation. Whether the job is quick and simple, or time-consuming and complicated, every task poses a new threat. Prior to riding, cowboys are allowed as much time as needed to ensure all equipment and protective gear is properly intact.  Make sure you, and your fellow employees, are taking the required steps and precautions to avoid workplace injuries as well.  Don’t be like good ole’ Toby Keith (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ldQrapQ4d0Y) and thoughtlessly assume you’ve got what it takes to get the job done.

Our six safety stories include workers who followed the cowboy tradition and put safety first, and a few who paid a heavy price when safety broke down.

  • Pledge allegiance… 4,000 young workers across the nation pledged to improve workplace safety during National Young Worker Safety Day.
  • It’s all in the plan… The Health and Safety Executive in Nuneaton, UK has prosecuted a company after two men were injured during the installation of a ceiling fan. It was discovered that the company failed to generate an appropriate safety plan.
  • Left hanging… Two New York window washers were left hanging when their scaffold collapsed on the 40th story of a skyscraper. Thankfully, the safety system worked and they were rescued without life-threatening injuries.
  • Watchful protector… Ontario will perform safety blitzes of construction sites and surface mines across Ontario this summer. Inspectors will check on maintenance of equipment, worker training, the use of safety equipment and other potential health and safety hazards to help prevent workplace injuries.
  • Only takes one… A Wendling Quarries employee was injured in an explosion at an asphalt plant. The man suffered neck burns in an incident the company says ‘has never happened before’.
  • In memoriam… Three workers died and 10 were injured when a building collapsed Wednesday in Chaoyang district.

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