How Safe Are You At Home?
We talk a lot about safety at work but not how this relates to safety at home. We frequently hear about fire safety, having an evacuation plan, and other emergency planning, but what happens with the everyday hazards that we face in and around our homes and personal life?
Workplaces have a low risk tolerance; however, it’s common for us to put less emphasis on safety at home. This is often because we assume that voluntary activities and work around our homes are not as risky as field and office work.
Our hobbies at home can have hazards that we don’t fully realize. If we were to face these hazards in a work setting, we would never dream of doing so without hazard assessments and controls in place. We also may not have the appropriate training to complete some of these tasks. Examples of this could be working on a car in the garage when you are not a trained mechanic, going on a hike when you do not have wilderness first aid training, or even taking down Christmas lights without fall protection. These are all risks that we would not take at work, but we may not think twice about doing so at home.
Everyone’s risk tolerance is different, and there will always be some residual risk in anything that we do, either at work or at home. The important thing is that we take the time to evaluate those risks and put required controls in place. For me a good measure is to ask myself if I would do this at work? Even better, would I ask an employee to do it? If not, look at getting additional controls in place, hire a competent service provider, or take a weekend course to better understand the work and the associated hazards.
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By Kirk Elliott, R.T. (Ag.)
Partner, Health and Safety Manager