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Habits can be defined as the tendency or disposition to act in a certain way. Our ability to acquire habits - whether good or bad - is directly related to our need for satisfaction. The importance of developing these safe work habits on the job is that we avoid certain exposures even if we are not thinking about the particular hazard. If we are always alert, never let our attention wander, and remember to use all the safe practices and equipment required for a particular task, then habits are not necessary. Circumstances arise for various reasons and complete attention is not always possible, however, under these circumstances safe work habits really pay off.
Potential hazards, and the safety habits that may protect you from being injured, are listed for your review.
HAZARD: The possibility of getting into the path of a moving object as it moves toward a stationary object.
SAFETY HABITS: Check to make sure that the machine openings are guarded. Look for cross-overs or cross-unders and use them when they are needed. Pay attention to warning signals; there is a reason for such devices.
HAZARD: Catch points/shear points. These objects have sharp corners, splines, teeth or other rough shapes capable of catching the operator or work clothing. Examples: Rotating drills, reamers, spline shafts, broaches, keys and keyways, nails on the inside of kegs and packing crates, shears, and dies.
SAFETY HABITS: Wear proper clothing. Make sure guards are in place, and used. Remove nails and staples from kegs and packing crates.
HAZARD: Squeeze points. These are created by two objects, one or both of which is in motion as they move toward one another. Examples: Machine tables at extreme traverse position forming squeeze points with other machines, walls, and building columns. Materials being moved on power conveyors create squeeze points with fixed objects along the conveyor.
SAFETY HABITS: Maintain a minimum clearance of 18 inches between moving and fixed objects. Relocate equipment where necessary. Maintain proper guarding. Maintain sweep bars equipped with shutoff switches in the squeeze area.
HAZARD: Run-in points. Examples: Belts and sheaves, chains and sprockets, gears in mesh, rolls, conveyor chains, ropes and pulleys, cable and drums.
SAFETY HABITS: Maintain and use proper guarding. Know your equipment. Never operate or work close to unfamiliar equipment.
Building safe habits is like turning on an autopilot in your body; you function with less mental stress in your thinking capacity.Make safety a habit when you recognize any of these hazards. Don't be caught in, on, or between. Apply these safety measures or some measures of your own. Good habits are safe habits!