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Watershed Academy~Job Pathways for Water and Climate Resilience

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Staying Safe on the Job

Safety is number one priority when working outdoors or with tools. There are many dangers and hazards that can cause severe accidents in our work, so let’s learn how to prevent them all together.

Respecting yourself and your co-workers- Showing respect to others is the best way to receive respect from others. You may not always receive respect even though you are deserving of it, if that is the case you should speak up to your crew leader or supervisor about the situation.

Taking precautions- Wearing PPE is the number 1 way to protect yourself. On many job sites it is illegal to not wear forms of eye protection, head gear or proper shoes. When it comes to protecting yourself from hazards, wearing personal protective equipment is the best defense you have. Listen to your supervisors when they ask you to wear your gear for a specific project, it could literally save your life.

Staying aware of your surroundings- Always be aware of your surroundings especially if you are in a non-urban area. There can be dangerous wildlife, vegetation and even humans around. The weather in the southwest can change very quickly and can pose a threat to safety as well. When you are using tools, weather it be a chainsaw or a shovel, LOOK around you to make sure no one is in the way. DO NOT swing your tool around or play with it like a toy.

Being an active participant, engaging and listening- It is really important that when an elder, an educator, a professional or your leader is giving instructions, that you listen. Missing crucial information can become dangerous for you and your coworkers. Do not ever engage on a project by yourself, if you do take something on independently, take one other member with you or make sure you have full permission from your supervisor.

Speak up, ask for help- A man once said “It is better to ask and be a fool for five minutes, then to never ask and be a fool for life.” If you didn’t hear the instructions the first time, ask for them to be repeated. If you don’t feel confident in what you need to do then ask your supervisor for specific directions. If you don’t know how to properly use a tool, then ask your supervisor or leader to show you. Doing something without knowing the proper way to do it can lead to serious accidents to you or someone else.

Knowing when it’s time to take a break- Listen to your body. Only you know what you feel like so no matter how many times a leader or member tells you to rest or drink water you are the only one who can do it. Heat can be very dangerous and you may not feel the effects until it is too late. Heat exhaustion is one of the biggest threats working outdoors, you may not even feel so hot but it can cause sever sickness for a day or more and if it becomes heat stroke, you may actually take severe damage to your brain and body. You also know your own limits, so if something is too heavy or strenuous for you ask for help! That’s what team members are for.

Staying on task- Keeping on the task of your project will help you and your team finish that project quicker which leaves more time for enjoying the rest of the day. On top of that, you will stay safer because you are aware of your surroundings. Wandering off or forgetting about your team mates can put everyone in danger.

Alcohol and drug use- Alcohol and drugs impair your ability to function normally and have full awareness of your senses and memories. It is not only dangerous to be under the influence while working in the field or with tools it is also illegal to do on the job and will not be tolerated. This includes nicotine as it is illegal to consume under the age of 21.