The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 1, Issue 7 (December 15, 1926)
Third Prize Essay
The better title for this subject would be “Safety First, Last, and all the Time.” Considerations of safety have results affecting more than the member concerned. Lack of proper precautions may result not only in temporary or total incapacitation to the person concerned, but following in its train are: possible injury to fellow employees, loss of working values to the Department, and financial loss and anxiety to the relatives of the delinquent.
How necessary it is for care to be exercised in seeing that all is clear before moving wagons, the long list of employees crushed between vehicles bears ample testimony. Especially is this so at night. The clearness with which signals are given contributes, in no small degree, to the safety of shunters, and their assistants. Handhold before foothold should be the maxim of all whose duties need them to board moving vehicles.
After an engine has been standing for some time, or is in running shed under repair, before moving the reverse lever, make a point of seeing that no one is likely to get caught in the motion. Missing fingers point (?) to the wisdom of this.
When shunting about goods sheds and restricted situations, don't put your head out at the side unless certain you are clear of all obstructions.
Failure to place danger signals when working under vehicles is a frequent cause of accident. In the case of locomotives, give the “Don't Move” board a prominent place.
Walking in the centre of the track courts disaster. “Keep off the grass” is not applicable to the well kept roadbeds of the New Zealand Railways, but “Keep to the side” is good safe advice. On the velocipede take nothing for granted. Never let up on eternal vigilance. Make it a habit. Shovels left with the blade edge uppermost will trap the unwary. If unable to stand them upright, lay them down with blade or points (in case of forks) facing downwards.
How usual to see an employee go to an emery wheel, and jerk the belt on to the tight pulley with one movement! Perhaps the belt breaks, perhaps it does not. The risk is there all the same, and the need for “safety first.” It is a bad example to younger men. Because emery wheels are better made than formerly, is no reason to neglect a safety first habit, and grind on the side. Too large a gap between wheel and rest has often meant another kind of rest to the careless workman. Never clear the cuttings away from a moving tool, or job, with the finger. It is often painful. The homely grindstone has potentialities for harm if the tool to be ground is incorrectly used. There is a safe side for grinding. Do not poke the chisel at an upward angle, with the stone revolving towards the point; grinding from the back is safer.
Stop for a moment and think what you would do if your mate met with certain injuries, a broken leg, or a severed artery. First aid promptly rendered may be the difference between the doctor and the undertaker. First aid is first cousin to safety first.
Should you be working with molten lead, be sure there is no moisture in the cavity to be filled.
Goggles may not look pretty, but they save pretty eyes; whether from grit, or when working contiguous to a brilliant light, as at a moulder's cupola, or when performing acetone and electric welding. Remember, there are rays of light invisible to ordinary vision, but which are dangerous to eyesight. Suitable goggles protect against injury from this source.
A serious accident caused by neglect of “safety first” principles, reacts on the nerves of one's fellow workmates, and may contribute to further mishaps.
Let this thought be latent in your mind: “Are my actions, or operations, safe, either for myself, or others?”
Finally, exercise all care at all times, in all operations you may be engaged in. Let up for not one single moment. Enlarge the slogan of “Safety First” to “Safety First, Last, and all the Time.”
Health, strength, skill, “quick to act,” good eyesight and good hearing are the principal elements of the physical man on his positive side, while disease, weakness, clumsiness, awkwardness, laziness and poor eyesight constitute his major negative characteristics.page break