Safety Training – Like Writing Words in the Snow

Just finished an OSHA safety course for work. It was a general construction safety program (the OSHA 10 hour one) and gave me a chance to review safety focuses in related and some cases unrelated trades.

As I have often taught classes much like this, it was at time a tedium – especially with the focus in much training being “hours in training” rather than what was covered & absorbed. The lecture staff were professionals from work’s insurance carrier and really did a fine job of perking up interest in those attending.

Reflecting on this course it struck me how in our Hobby seldom do we do safety training, and almost never do we do any recurrent safety training.

Yes, we all are supposed to have done our RF Exposure calculations – but when was the last time you back-checked even those simple calculations as your home station evolves?

And what about all the other bits of safety – electrical, fall-protection, lightening… not to mention the human factor safety issues – ergonomics, fire & first aid… even down to having a safety plan for someone to check on you if you don’t reappear from your ham room after a certain amount of time, or having access to a 911 able phone in the ham shack?

Safety Training and Planning is about being prepared for the unexpected. Rather than being like a character Monty Python skit about “Not Expecting the Inquisition” we should plan & train to be ready for a wide range of possibilities.

The planned repeating of Safety Training is important, as bluntly we forget & become complacent about safety issues. I’ve often heard analogies like “Safety Training is like writing words in the snow, you have to keep retracing the letters & words as whether it is more snow, the melting from the sun, drifting from the winds, or those tracking through them, the words will soon be lost without repetition.” Many training authors use simeilar analogies – snow, beach, words in the wind – to the same effect – repetition is an integral part of Safety Training.

I will be talking to our club’s program coordinator about adding a series of Safety in the Ham Shack mini-programs for our members.

Who knows, being prepared might just keep someone from a world of hurt.



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