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How to respect safety when you are met with deadlines:

By Angela Unsworth

“I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.”

~ Douglas Adams

Douglas Adams’ quote resonates with me. I am a box checker. I like to finish projects, check the box and say “done!” while occasionally giving myself a high-five in celebration. I think this can be a positive trait, but when it comes to being safe at work, it can potentially be a negative. How? Let me tell you where it almost went wrong in my world.

In my office, the artwork on the walls is framed photographs submitted by staff members. I love it because it’s great to look around and see beautiful images of different places in the world and to know that the people around me are talented and well-traveled.

Every year we change these photographs out for new ones to keep the images fresh and new.  The images that we remove go back to the individuals who submitted them and they can take them home or gift them.

I coordinate the change-up of the photos, and for the most recent update, by the time I got the photographs printed and delivered, all of the facility staff were away on holiday and I wasn’t able to get them put up before the end of the year.

I had made a promise to a coworker that we would have her picture down before Christmas so she could give it as a gift. I really wanted to keep that promise and so I thought about taking the frame off the wall myself.  Just before I did that, though, I realized there was a reason we have facilities and maintenance staff. While I might be able to get a ladder and remove the picture, I haven’t received the same training about safety that the facilities and maintenance staff have and I could potentially injure myself. No matter what kind of deadline I have, I need to be patient and recognize my limitations and restrictions.

I approached an individual who was identified as a back-up employee should anything need to be done around the office while maintenance staff were away and got his assistance in taking the picture down. I was able to keep my promise and to stay safe.

Sometimes we might have pressure on us to complete tasks at work and we might make a choice that could lead to an unsafe action, all in the name of trying to be a good employee. I realized that being safe and not potentially injuring myself also makes me a good employee. I’m currently injury free and able to meet all the other deadlines because I’m still at work and I’m still safe.

Do you have any safety-related stories at work? Leave us a comment or tweet us @HeadsUpAB!


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