We are confronted with the warning sign of “SAFETY FIRST” in front of buildings under construction or if there is some road repair work going on. Perhaps most of us never stop to reflect on the importance of this seemingly very simple, sometimes mandatory sign.
At home, this sign has equal importance. The electrical gadgets that we use everyday at home are perhaps the most threatening . In addition, the pressure cooker, the razor or even a simple medicine that one uses can be lethal. This is where a sense of “safety” or “safety awareness” comes in.
A medicine which is a life saver for one could be a life taker for someone else. A small child can swallow some medicines which will threaten her life or even an adult could mistakenly take the unintended medicine and put his life into risk. A razor with some rust on it could lead to serious complications which may result in death. A pressure cooker with defective safety device or seals could lead to serious injuries like multiple burns etc. These are some small examples of what could happen from seemingly harmless equipment or habits and if the “Safety Awareness” is present then one could avoid many accidents from simple things that can change the entire course of one's life or even take a life.
Electricity is one thing which we are becoming increasingly dependent on. From mobile phone chargers to kitchen appliances or items like refrigerator,TV etc. are a part of homes in cities to villages. In remote areas also we are now using solar panels which help run lights and fans. An electric shock can be a serious hazard for the users . Proper “earthing” of equipment can be a life saver. “Earthing” actually is the third wire in 3 pin plugs and takes care of the hazard by passing to earth any live exposed part of the equipment, that has been caused by some defect. This can be further explained by an example.Suppose the protective insulation(cover) of a wire in a refrigerator has been damaged and the live wire has come into contact with the body of the refrigerator. As soon as someone comes in contact with the body of the refrigerator, he will be allowing the “current” to pass through his body to the earth resulting in electrical shock which can be fatal. Now if the refrigerator body is earthed properly then this danger can be overcome as the “current” will then go through the earth wire and shut off the power supply to the equipment by blowing the fuse or tripping the circuit breaker. Nowadays another protective device called ELCB or Earth Leakage Circuit Breaker is available which can be installed at home with individual equipment or for the entire power supply to the household. This will take care of the earth leakages anywhere in the home by shutting off the power anytime any leakage occurs. However, the down side is that, sometimes this can cause “nuisance tripping” for some minor leakage that may not be fatal.
“Safety Awareness” among our people is poor. This is demonstrated by the way people hang on to public transport, travel on train rooftop(even run on them) or are busy with their mobile phone while driving or on the road. Many lives have been lost on train tracks where people busy on their mobile phones have been killed. We see our construction workers on high rises hanging on dangerously at heights without any protective equipment like safety belt etc. It is said that a fall from a height of even 3 feet can kill. Our people seem to be indifferent and nonchalant as far as safety awareness is concerned and seem to have a false sense of belief that accidents happen to “other people” only. Sad that such attitude is also noticed among the educated class and even students.
The encouraging sign is that most of our industries as well as different organizations, both government and non-government are now taking precautions to warn of the hazards. Yet I think that our people still lack the awareness that is required to avoid life threatening occurrences in every aspect of our lives.
We need to remember that an unfortunate accident can happen only once which is enough to maim us for life or kill us, and then it will be too late. We definitely should discuss “Safety Awareness” with our co-workers and family members . We could be taken lightly or even ridiculed but may end up saving precious lives.