Workplace safety first

By Penny Caldwell | 11 Jan 2012

Guest post by Jackie Davis, assistant editor. Last week, an acquaintance of mine from the gym told me to “have a safe day.” Which means either a) she’s forgotten that I work at a magazine, and she thinks that I’m a coal miner, or maybe a crab fisherman, or b) she thinks that office jobs are dangerous.

I’m on Cottage Life’s Joint Health and Safety Committee, which means I make it my business to know about workplace safety. Well, sort of. There was a time—for another job, pre-Cottage Life—when, as part of work training, I was required to watch the same safety video every year. It showed the typical ways a person might be injured during daily life. For example: Guy is hurt while talking to colleagues, because a box falls on him; guy injures his hand while fixing the faucet with a wrench; guy—still the same guy—trips while climbing the bleachers at what looks like some kind of weird high school dance competition. (Possibly, it’s square dancing.)

I understood the point of the video, but these never seemed like realistic injury scenarios, especially not at work. Why would a box spontaneously fall down on me? Why would I personally attempt to fix the office faucet? Why would I watch square dancing during business hours? Or ever?

But being on the committee, I’ve come to realize that there actually are a lot of hazards in the workplace, and—yikes—everywhere. This makes me feel guilty for ever scoffing at that video. But mostly it makes me happy I work here, and not somewhere dangerous. Have a safe day.