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Communicating Safety: I Need a Little Help Here

We are all here on earth to help others; what on earth the others are here for I don’t know. – W.H. Auden

Sometimes it is really hard for us to ask for help, even when it comes to safety.  I remember when I was a young electrical apprentice and thought I was able to lift anything.  Asking for help was like saying, “Hey, I’m a weak little man and need help.”  My pride would not let me ask!  Later in life I learned why I should have asked for help…because now I deal with occasional back pain…and as a result I don’t hesitate to ask for help now.  You may have had the same expericnes. In some cases you may be performing a job that is more complex making it a higher-risk situation.

Complexity in jobs can lead to mistakes that can lead to injury or damaged equipment or property.  Good communications leads to fewer mistakes and improves human performance over all.  Improving the way we communicate can improve many workplaces and preventing injuries is the biggest reason to improve.

I would like to offer some tips that I share in my Communicating Safety, Safely Workshop so you can put your pride aside and work safe.

Next time you need some help:

  • Ask for help as soon as you need it.

Sometimes it takes a little time for the person you ask to wrap-up what they are doing; by waiting for them you might avoid over-exertion that could lead to an injury.

  • Describe the situation or the problem.

Many times there is more than one solution to an issue or a problem.  In regards to safety, a second opinion is always a good idea to confirm or improve the situation.

  • Inform the person who will help you of what you have done up to this point to correct the situation.

Sharing information is always important because your previous attempt may not have been successful and an update saves time.

  • Share the load by working together to solve the problem or issue.

Engaging others always builds the team, not to mention gets things done effectively, and many times solves the problem for the last time.

Take a few minutes to think about times when you could and should have asked for help.  Did you get hurt?  Could the job have been done better if you had asked for help?  What would have improved if you had asked for help?  Remember that the goal in safety is to prevent every injury.  Putting our pride aside and asking for help will improve our chances of hitting that goal every time.

Thanks, and Be Safe!

Carl Potter, CSP


Invitation to a training opportunity…

On December 1st, 2015 I will be conducting my Hazard Recognition and Control Workshop in Dallas Texas near the DFW airport.  I hope you will consider attending to learn and network with other safety minded individuals.  You can learn more about this opportunity at:


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