April 18, 2012 | Mark Paradies

Magic Safety Powers

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While I was in Manchester, UK, I started noticing devices with magical safety powers.

The first of these devices was the yellow coat/vest with reflective tape on it.

They were everywhere – on every construction site. Workers wore them walking down the street. We were required to wear them to visit our booth at a conference exhibit (if the stands were “being built”).

Surely, they had magical powers to keep us safe because the links between the hazards present and the protection provided seemed tenuous at best. After all, I had worked safely at Du Pont for five years without a yellow vest and had avoided being crushed or run over. So had 20,000 other workers at our site for 20 years. So, I concluded the yellow vests must have some magical powers that make them worthwhile.

A week later, while in an airport in the US, I noticed another magical device – the hard hat.

This time a worker had the hardhat and a yellow vest on while working on top of a building. There was no overhead hazard and he was not wearing any fall protection. Thus, the combination of a hardhat and vest must have magical powers to protect the worker from the obvious hazard – falling off the building. Perhaps while wearing them he could fly? Otherwise, he wouldn’t be wearing them because there was no other hazard present.

Do you have magical safety equipment where you work?

Equipment that must be worn even when there is no obvious hazard?

And do people stop and think about the obvious hazards and what they should be wearing to prevent accidents?

Or do they just count on the magical powers of the yellow vest and hardhat?

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