Compliance Evaluator

training forklift operators

since 2000.


# 3 January 1 2022: I Hope We Can Disagree!!

I Hope We Can Disagree!!

Why such an odd title?

Anyone who really knows me knows I can be blunt. They also know that I will push until I get my point across.

With that being said, I am hoping the title has your attention.

I don’t expect everyone will agree (although I secretly think they should 😊).

If we, as trainers, can get people to think differently about even one point and reduce their risk, we have accomplished something.

A rule, regulation or even law might not change your mind, but the hard reality of things mentioned below might.


Over the years we have learned that safety training is far more than just giving information.

It becomes a task of changing the way a person thinks about safety, especially when that person is excellent at their job and has a lot of experience.

If all we need is for us to agree that SAFETY IS NUMBER ONE, then WHY IN THE PAST YEAR HAVE TWO OF OUR CUSTOMERS FALLEN AND HAD VERY SERIOUS HEAD TRAUMA LEADING TO A COMA, WITH A LONG HARD RECOVERY? The effects on them and their families are devastating and, in many ways, life will never be the same.


Often, we are not passing along new information; in fact, sometimes the people we are training know far more about the task than we do.

The issue is not the task itself, such as how to build a house, trusses or put on a roof.

It is how to be prepared for that moment when you step on a piece of paper from a shingle, or a slippery spot on the roof and your feet go out from under you.

Or when you step across trusses, as you have for so many years, and your foot misses its landing mark.

That is a TRUE STORY of how a 53-year-old man from the Sarnia area DIED.


So our hope is that we can disagree…and discuss why.


We all have some “stupid” built right into us:   (if you are offended, perhaps that’s what it takes to create change)


We all need help to identify our “stupid”.

  • Many of us have overextended, or even bounced, a ladder over by several feet to get that little bit of extra reach.
    • Have you ever considered all your weight is now on one leg of that ladder with sideways pressure on a relatively small aluminum channel?
  • We ask the question about the rope on the ladder, what do you do with it?
    • The truth is that many people remove it because “it’s in the way”.
      • If you do that, now run through your mind how you fully extend and retract that ladder.
        • You should be laughing at yourself—IS THAT PUTTING SAFETY AS NUMBER ONE?
      • Why are you stepping in the very centre of the ladder where the rope should be?
      • Also, the pulley at the top is at the correct spot to create the proper amount of overlap for the ladder to be safe.
        • When you remove the rope, you can extend the ladder past this safety overlap.


  • Find your own personal “stupid”.
    • What do you do that you know you shouldn’t?
      • Now ask yourself “IS IT WORTH IT?”
        • Who will pay the price if I get seriously hurt?
          • My wife, my kids, my parents.


  • We need to change our way of thinking before we can change the number of construction injuries.


Some realities of the construction industry that contribute to unsafe workplaces:


There are not enough workers.

  • Everyone everywhere in all types of jobs are having a hard time finding workers.
    • This leads to:
      • Employer stress and possibly cutting corners;
      • Supervisor stress and performing the job themselves;
      • Overworking existing workers with harder tasks and longer hours; and
      • Perhaps putting workers in a position in which they are not able to complete the task.
    • A perceived rush on any job leads to injuries:
      • Stress can kill—just take a deep breath and think about what needs to be done to complete the task;
      • Trying to rush leads to physical injuries such as:
        • cuts, slips or trips; and
        • fall protection being ignored because “it takes too long”.


  • Housing demand is forcing the industry to grow faster than it can keep up to.
    • If you are not convinced of this, just drive though any community, town, village or even the countryside.
      • Construction is everywhere—single family townhouses, duplexes, fourplexes and high-rises are all being built in places where we have never seen them built before.


  • What is the answer?
    • Short term…SLOW YOURSELF DOWN (at least your thinking):
      • There will always be a job that needs to be done right now;
      • We are not saying deliberately make jobs take longer—we are saying think it through, do it right and do it safe…don’t take chances; and
      • Actually use your training and equipment:
        • It is doubtful the two men who fell (mentioned earlier) would choose the current results over the inconvenience of using fall protection.


  • Long term:
    • There are programs in high school today teaching safety and operation of equipment in all sectors:
      • These programs are linked directly to specific trades and can lead to apprenticeships;
      • A high school student can start an apprenticeship at the same time as finishing high school;
    • Apprenticeships are now much easier to access, and have now become free to participate in.


  • Employers need to:
    • Strategically train Supervisors:
      • Not just appoint them;
    • Hire the right people for your team:
      • Take the time to draw the right people to your company;
      • A worker who is unproductive can create more work than what two other employees can repair;
    • Do your best to make employees want to stay with your company:
      • Protect what you have invested:
        • Time
        • Money
        • Training
        • Personal effort


We all have the responsibility to help everyone be safe:


  • Employers have the biggest responsibility:
    • To provide:
      • Training;
      • Safety equipment;
      • A safe workplace;
      • Competent supervisors; and
    • To take every precaution reasonable to protect the worker.


  • Supervisor responsibilities:
    • To inform workers of any danger or potential danger;
    • To ensure all workers are using safety equipment properly:
      • Including inspections when required;
    • To ensure all workers are following company safety policies; and
    • To take every precaution reasonable to protect the worker.


  • Worker responsibilities:
    • To follow the rules and regulations;
    • To follow any training provided;
    • To follow all company safety policies; and
    • To keep themselves and those around them safe.


We hope we have dared to hit you with things you disagree with before you read this article and challenge yourself to work within the Safety Zone.


Check out our web site for more blogs and our podcast https://martinssafetytraining.com/

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