RobertOctober 30th 2022

When I was in junior high school and the dinosaurs roamed the earth, I had requested and received some aircraft engine information and promotional materials from Teledyne Continental Motors.  (Yes, I was a weird kid…now I’m just weird.)  One of the items they sent me was a t-shirt from their factory safety department that read “Safety means never having to say Ouch!”  It is a slogan I have remembered and tried to embrace for many decades since.  There are many hazards we deal with in life both at our work and outside of it.  It is an inherent part of “doing” anything….and when the doing involves any mechanical or electrical task, the consequences of a mistake or hasty action can be severe.  While our neon activities don’t often involve heavy mechanical tasks, the construction of our shop spaces and maintenance of our equipment often can entail a bit of this.

Rather than try to cover every sort of scenario with a lot of specific (and, lets face it, sometimes eye glazing) advice I chose to condense and reiterate a general talk I once gave on the topic of proper tool use.  It is really more of a set of guidelines to instill a good mindset and I felt it worthy of a few minor revisions to present here as well:

Many of us have had our share of minor bumps, scrapes, and burns and although such accidents are sometimes inevitable most are preventable. Often what makes the difference is having the right mindset and taking the time to properly assess the situation before acting.

With regard to tools, this can be aided by asking yourself a few simple questions:

1.) What exactly am I trying to accomplish at this step?

(STOP and look at what you are trying to do at each step: perform an overall assessment of the situation, including surroundings, to decide how best to accomplish the task…This not only prevents accidents but more often than not makes the job go faster and with less effort—efficiency and laziness do sometimes go hand in hand!)

2.) Am I using the best tool for the task and am I using it correctly?

(The wrong tool, or even the right tool used improperly, can make a simple task far more difficult or dangerous than it needs to be…If using an unfamiliar tool, make sure you have been instructed in its proper application and use…a screwdriver should never be used as a pry bar, for example. This item should also be double checked—many of us pick up bad habits along the way or have a temptation to use a shortcut—often because an object or tool is already in hand and just because something worked the last 100 times does not necessarily mean it was right or safe, it could just mean somebody has been lucky.)


3.)  Is the tool in good, serviceable, and safe condition?

(A classic example, a dull knife is far more dangerous than a sharp one.  Why?....because it requires more force to make it cut, thereby increasing the likelihood of your hand slipping from the handle and being cut by the blade.)

4.) Have I properly positioned myself to perform the task?

(Awkward positions often lead to unsatisfactory results, both in terms of the work quality and in accidents...not to mention the aches and pains of muscle strain the following day....I promise you that the older you get the more you will pay attention to this!.....if dealing with something that may cause injury by moving suddenly or breaking loose, ask yourself "Have I left myself an out?"…no one wants to fall backwards when the wrench they tugged on finally and suddenly moves or scrape their knuckles if they pushed on the wrench and it broke free!)


5.) Am I using all of the appropriate protective equipment?

(Goggles, gloves, etc. …and not just for you, but for any onlookers who may be observing your work.—it is your responsibility to keep bystanders a safe distance away or halt work that may be hazardous to them until they are briefed on the work and are wearing proper gear as you instantly cease to look cool if you hurt the people who were impressed by what you were showing them just a moment before.)

After a while such analysis should become second nature and done so readily as to appear effortless. Although some accidents will still happen, the frequency and severity of them can be reduced. If you are working on something and have a doubt as to the best way to accomplish the task, ask someone to take a look...chances are everyone knows somebody who has encountered a similar problem before and you may gain the opportunity to learn from another’s experiences. (and mistakes)  Getting something done is great, getting it done without pain and while making it look easy is a sign of a true master.

Here's to never having to say, "Ouch! (@#$$%%&^&!!!)


Login to leave a comment...
0 comments on "Safety Means Never Having To Say "Ouch!" (or any creative expletives)"