Toolbox Meeting 13 -- STRUCK BY OR AGAINST

Being aware of what is going on around us is part of living. An awareness or knowledge of our neighbors, community, state and nation, and their problems may help you enjoy life more.

In the construction industry an awareness of what goes on around us is absolutely necessary, because without this awareness, our lives are constantly in danger.

During the course of a lifetime we take all kinds of bumps -- bumps to our pride, financial bumps, bumps in the road as we drive our cars, and, hundreds of times, to our bodies.

Bumps to our legs, torsos, arms, hands and heads can cause physical disfigurement, a decrease in earning ability, permanent injury or even death.

Many of us, at some time or other, have been required to take apart the trap on the kitchen sink. To perform this task, we gather the necessary tools, clear out the area under the sink and very cautiously approach this close-fitting working space. We carefully observe the area in which we have to work, making mental notes of the obstructions that will be in the way when performing the job and taking mental measurements to determine how far these obstructions will be from our heads when working. We concentrate on these mental calculations and measurements, and are aware of the obstacles.

How many times, however, has your wrench slipped, causing you to jam your finger into one of the obstacles? You had an automatic reaction, which caused you to raise your head and bump it against another obstacle that you knew was there and which you had carefully told yourself to avoid. Even though you knew about those obstacles, your concentration was momentarily interrupted and you got a bump or two.

To be aware of something, it is necessary to concentrate. In our daily work, we must realize that a bump, when used with reference to our bodies, must come from an object. The object can be in front of us, behind us, above or below us. It can be stationary or moving. It can be moving toward us or away from us. It can be passing us or we can be passing it.

We may not be able to observe the object. On the other hand, maybe we are not using our ability to observe the object. We must concentrate.

It is necessary to concentrate, not only on our jobs, but also on the objects that can possibly make our jobs unsafe.

By concentrating and becoming aware of our working areas, bumps can be prevented.