As a safety professional, do I practice what I preach at home? Yes. Well, I try—unsuccessfully sometimes.
I had to tighten a screw holding my punching bag to a beam in my garage. The safe way might have been to:
1. Lift the bag slightly and have my wife unhook it from the chain suspending it.
2. Use a ladder to climb up tighten the screw and climb back down.
3. Then lift the bag and have my wife re-attach the chain.
The safe way isn’t always the easiest, quickest or cheapest way.
My wife was in the living room, and being a man, sometimes I lack the ability to ask for help. So instead, the process went something like this:
1. Decide not to ask my wife for help.
2. Set up a ladder next to the bag.
3. Lift the bag so an edge of it rests slightly on a ladder step.
4. Wrap one leg around the bag to “secure” it.
5. Quickly tighten the screw before my leg cramps up, causing the 100-pound bag swings off the ladder and me to lose my balance and fall to my death.
Injuries and fatalities do happen in the home. They strike individuals and families just like you and me. More than 5 million people are injured every year from falls alone.
Would I have injured myself if I fell of that ladder? Yes. Was there a safer way to tighten that one little screw? Yes. Was I committed to doing the job safely? In this instance, sadly no.
A safe home requires a commitment from each and every one of us. From this point forward, I will be more committed to making my home a safer place.