Safety Training Courses

Written by Shirley Parker
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The subject of safety training increases in importance as world events unfold, even though it's a topic most of us push to the back of the mind. At least, we ignore it until we need the immediate help of those trained to rescue and treat the injured, neutralize the hazardous waste, or clean up the chemical or oil spill. At those times, we expect that "they" will send in trained personnel to get us through the trauma, quickly and safely.

But where do those trained men and women come from? How do they do what they do without panicking? What makes them go down inside a well to rescue a precious child, even a child of poverty whom many will scorn as she grows up? How can they pluck a stranded window cleaner, hanging by only a belt, from a broken window washer's carriage (or boatswain's chair) 17 stories above the ground? How do they know how to clean oil from the feathers and gullet of a suffering sea bird?

Just as difficult sometimes is the job of preventing emergencies. Getting past corporate fixation on "the bottom line" to have management recognize the validity of safety procedures and enforcement of rules regarding access to restricted areas, can mean the difference between life saved/tragedy averted and a public outcry that will only die down after decades, if then. People as a whole will always have a jaundiced view of any company or government unit that placed people, livestock, or wildlife, as well as the environment, in harm's way, regardless of the reasons for having done so.

Getting Past an Individual "Attitude" toward Safety

It can be a challenge to convince certain categories of individual that danger is real and should be acknowledged. It's an even bigger problem to get certain age groups to realize they're not invincible and that stupid stunts are stupid stunts; even the male with a macho attitude shouldn't risk his neck trying them. Guaranteed, the ladies won't be impressed, unless they're very much into the "cleaning out the gene pool" way of thinking.

What safety instructors like to see when training people in safety techniques is a positive response, even an eagerness to learn the necessary techniques to work safely, ship without incident, protect self and coworkers, minimize injuries if they have occurred, and clean up corrosives and poisons. They don't want to hear another whine about having to wear a hard hat or goggles or gloves. Bring on the students who want to do it right and to the best of their ability.

Experienced safety training instructors know they must often overcome the reluctance of individuals to encompass a mind-set that requires a shift to "Yes, it could happen here." People, all of us, don't like our worlds when they become threatening. For as long as possible, we'd rather shut out the dark shadow on the horizon that may be an arson-set California wildfire or a Wyoming oil rig accident.

But We Do Wake Up

When a local commuter express bus catches fire for no apparent reason on the freeway, we suddenly wake up. If she hadn't been home with a migraine, our best friend would have been on that bus. When teenage vandals break into a major aquarium and torture and kill several of its inhabitants, we become enraged. There has been a disturbance in the network around us. New safety procedures now have to be implemented at considerable cost.

Can we do more than become alarmed and angry? Many of us can, given reasonably good health. Many safety training courses are available throughout the country. Some are geared for the professional seeking work in a civilian field. Others are for volunteer rescue workers, whose services are becoming more and more valuable.


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