By: Aaron Wissen

When was the last time you went out and played a round of golf wearing a pair of hockey skates or sandals?  Even if you’ve never played a round of golf in your life, you know that getting the right equipment before you tee off is necessary if you hope to have any chance of being successful.  Likewise, having the right systems, tools and equipment in place should be an employee’s first step towards success.   

Unfortunately, on today’s jobsites, employees do not always use the appropriate tools for the job, and thereby create a potentially dangerous situation for not only themselves, but for everyone involved. Choosing the right tool for any job is critical for the safety of the employees, their co-workers, and their overall goal.  As safety professionals we must focus on the systems, tools and equipment being used for the job and discuss the suitability of each with the employees involved in order to safely complete the task.

Key questions to consider: 

  1. Are the tools and equipment being used appropriate for the task?
  2. What condition are the tools and equipment in?
  3. Is there a procedure for the job, and if so does it specify what tools are to be used?
  4. Was the use of tools and equipment identified as a hazard in the job hazard analysis completed before the job started?

If the systems, tools and equipment being used are the right ones for the job, we should reinforce this safe practice on the jobsite.  However, if the systems, tools and equipment being used seem unsuitable for the job, do not fit the purpose, or are creating hazards that could be reduced by using the right gear, then we must immediately stop work and have a discussion.  Focus on discovering the reason why the inappropriate system or tool was in place and discuss how to prevent this in the future.  Was it not recognized as a hazard or approved by a procedure?  Was it recognized but not available on site?  Was the tool available but the employee did not go to get it?  Each of these reasons requires a different type of approach to addressing a solution, either organizational or behavioral. 

While you may not be a scratch golfer, you make choices, like purchasing a nice pair of golf shoes, to help yourself be successful.  Shouldn’t you do the same on the jobsite?