Remember the days of no shirts, high top sneakers, coolers of frosty cold adult beverages and hard hats only for the supers? Many carpenters love to reminisce about the glory days of construction. We could sit on the tailgate and talk for hours about the lawless work society we thrived in.
The tales start off fun, but inevitably they quickly turn to conversations of aching backs and creaky knees. Then scars from where a saw glanced off your hand. Then we compare healed broken fingers. From there the conversation steers towards other broken bones. Then getting shot with a framing nail gun. And then to head injuries walking through framing and not dodging the plumb and lines guys temps. Tripping over cords. Near falls where you saved yourself from pitching to the slab from the high part of the living room wall. We all knew a guy who lost his hand or buried a skill saw in his shin…. or worse. And there is always the one guy who fell just 8 feet off a garage and lost his life.
That got dark, quick, didn’t it? But it is the way of our trade, and we all know that. The thing is- these stories didn’t need to be told, because they shouldn’t have happened in the first place. Workplace safety started off as a splinter in the side of carpenters in the early 2000s. Eventually, it became a way of life. The problem with safety being a normal part of the workday is that autopilot can take over and you can forget basic rules. And that’s when injuries happen.
Every company should have daily safety walks, weekly safety meetings and make sure that all carpenters are aware of the everyday hazards on the job site. Hard hats are essential. Everyone has to drink water. A hydrated mind is aware of danger. Carpenters love to work. Time is money, and everyone needs to make it.
There is no better feeling than finishing your day, knowing you performed a job well done and will reap the benefits at weeks end.
However, it could go wrong. Any injury, minor or major, and the impact it makes on our abilities to meet deadlines and schedules is a serious matter. Construction is dangerous. Our industry has very come far in protecting ourselves from the one thing no one can afford to happen. So do yourself a favor- Take it seriously. Watch yourself and your coworkers and apply your safety know-how at all times.