Some Thoughts on Better Safe Work Practices

Originally Published: October 25, 2021
Sometimes a safety vest or hard hat, for example, may seem to be in the way or feel unnecessary on certain projects. We tend to wear them at the beginning of a job and as the days go along, the gear gets left in the truck more and more frequently. Gloves get forgotten or you brought the wrong type, or maybe you brought 2 right gloves instead of one for each hand. So, if we don’t have someone looming over us reminding and admonishing, you are not adequately protected from quite often real danger. The problem is this: we often wear PPE because we’re told to do so, when no practical threats exist, and for most cathodic protection people, this probably applies to a majority of our jobs. For example, why wear a hard hat while performing a CIS out on an empty pipeline ROW when there is no overhead safety threat? Fair question.
Here’s why. First, if you’re not wearing the required, proper and well-maintained PPE , it looks unprofessional. It is unprofessional. Second, and most importantly, if you are complacent about PPE use on a job where it arguably matters, you’re going to be complacent when it really does matter. In my opinion, safety starts at home. It should be a part of everything you do. Make it a part of your life and it will be a part of your profession. I’m not saying you should wear FR clothing and a safety vest while you mow the lawn. What I am saying is wear the right PPE for the job every time, at home and on the job.
Finally, for those of us that lead projects, our team watches our behavior for the example. If you are not wearing the right PPE, neither will they. In particular, deep well installations test our PPE implementation quality. There are risks of head, hand, feet and eye injuries, and risks of injury due to personnel visibility. We wear hard hats, gloves, hard toe boots, safety glasses and safety vests for these reasons. The reasons are real. Plan the PPE you will need for the job, make sure your people have it, perform daily JSAs where you talk about the PPE and wear your own PPE fanatically.
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