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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 1, Issue 3 (July 24, 1926)

Safety First

page 45

Safety First


Among the most prolific causes of accidents to-day are unsafe and thoughtless practices-a forgetting of the relation between cause and effect. Life has developed interests due to the wonderful progress of our age which have multiplied the pre-occupations of the mind. We perform operations without that rational thought and sober reflection which safety demands. It is thus that accidents happen. The remedy lies in taking our jobs more seriously, and concentrating our whole attention on the work we have in hand.

* * *

Safety And The New Employee.

Addressing the annual meeting of the Safety Section of the American Railway Association, Mr. E. A. Hadley made a strong plea for the education of the new employee in the rules of safety. “It seems to me” he said, “that it is a matter of the utmost importance that the new employee be educated in the rules of safety. A man who may not be influenced by a plea based on sentiment or by logic, spoken, written or pictured, can be directed in the proper channels of thought by concrete examples. You must be able not only to tell him what he must or must not do, but why.”

* * *

The “Safety Conscience.”

The development of a “safety conscience” in the individual is calculated to achieve more in the cause of accident prevention than perhaps is possible through any other medium. We are not sufficiently conscious of the ever present possibility of accident, we take appalling risks, and what is worse, we have an altogether inadequate appreciation of the human suffering and the economic loss inseparable from almost every accident. So important has the question of accident prevention become to-day that great industrial establishments have devised “safety codes of ethics” for the guidance of their staffs from superintendents down to the humblest employee. The imperative need is impressed upon all to make this cause their own. From one such “code of ethics” we extract the following, which is applicable to managers and foremen:-

You must explain to each man any hazardous conditions or dangers which are present on the job he is to do.

You must visit the new employee frequently to find out if he is thoroughly familiar with safety rules, and the special hazards of his job, and has the proper attitude towards safety.

You must understand every danger point in your Department.

You must see that every dangerous condition receive immediate attention as soon as it develops, and that each man uses proper care in doing the work.

The following extracts are taken from the code as applicable to the workmen of this Company:-

The desire to work safely can not be given to you. You must have or develop that desire yourselves and use it to see that you obey the instruction given by your foreman and keep from getting hurt.

All employees must be safe workmen and believe in safety.

Such a “safety code of ethics” serves a useful purpose in the development of the “safety conscience” in the individual, which after all is his surest guarantee against accident.

* * *

Level Crossings.

It takes different kinds of fools to make a world complete; but the fool who races trains is very hard to beat. He cares not for the safety of the persons in his charge; in fact, he is a lunatic who should not be at large. For, when the engine whistles, he will find that it's too late to go back and read the notice that was hanging on the gate. Stop! Lookout! Listen!-This notice may be seen at every level crossing where accidents have been.“Safety.”