The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 2, Issue 8 (December 1, 1927)
Production Engineering. — (Part XVII.) — “Safety First” In The Workshops
“Safety first” is a habit. Therefore let us all cultivate the habit of “Safety first.” In order to cultivate the habit of “Safety first,” one must first learn to think “Safety first.”
We do not sacrifice speed or efficiency because of “Safety first”-it does not mean we must slow up, in the sense that a motorist must stop speeding in the interest of Safety. It simply means that sane, careful and sensible actions must replace the rash, impulsive and nonsensical actions, when the risk involved is considered.
We owe it to our families, the Department, and the community in general to act sensibly, so the subject admits of no argument.
What are we doing about it in the Workshops?
Is the matter being given careful consideration-I mean sincerely, or is “Safety first” looked on as a “fad” or temporary affair soon to die and fizzle out?
Indifference is the biggest obstacle to Safety first-“It's not my job, it's up to the Department,” so many say, or if they don't say so, they think or act so. The Department does not deny any of its responsibility in the matter, but the Department cannot force a man to think and act safely, if through indifference a man will not trouble to do so himself.
In the Workshops, in order to develop the “Safety first” habit, the following are the instructions and methods employed:—
Workshop Committees always have “Safety first” matters on their order papers at their regular meetings.
Two members of such Committees are delegated to make an inspection of the shops sometime between meetings, and they present their report for discussion and recommendation at the next meeting. (Two different members each time.)
Any shop employee is invited to make suggestions to the Workshops Manager, or to Committemen who bring same before the Shop Committee.
At Committee meetings previous recommendations completed are first noted, next those recommended but not completed (and why), are noted, then new recommendations are considered. This is so that none fall by the wayside.
Any available literature on the subject is distributed.
Posters, Signs and Warnings are carefully placed to keep the idea in the foreground all the time.
Suggestions on any matters touching safety are invited.
A whole lot has already been accomplished by the co-operative action of the Committees; a great many improvements have been effected, but don't leave it to the other fellow all the time. The Committee and the management need constructive help. Safety work goes hand in hand with ambulance work; it is a service to yourself, you benefit by it-and to answer it by “indifference” may help the medical profession, but it won't help you.
While this has been about “Safety first” I have in mind production as well. The Department is not well served in any respect by those who don't think in terms of “Safety first.”