When I was still in high school, a man came to our shop class to talk about safety. We had done the tests, read the manuals, and politely listened to our teachers as they droned on about proper behavior. I expected another lecture to sleepily sit through. I was wrong.
What the man told us, I never forgot.
The first thing I noticed about him was that he was wearing a button up shirt with his sleeves rolled all the way up. His forearms were horribly scarred, it didn't even really look like skin covering the bones.
He was showing them off on purpose.
What he told us was that he was just like us. He worked on a job site that had lots of dangerous chemicals that could have even more dangerous reactions. He was a driver. Like us, he had heard all the safety stories before, and they went in one ear and out the other.
He was supposed to wear special fire-retardant overalls which covered him basically head-to-toe, but one hot summer day he found it all just a bit too much. He undid his overalls and pushed up his sleeves. Letting at least some of his skin breathe and get some relief.
I can't remember what exactly caused the accident, but something exploded. A gust of fire headed straight for him, completely engulfing him. The skin that he had showing was charred and he spent weeks in the hospital. The skin that was underneath the overalls...perfectly fine.
Without any shame, he showed us his patches of ruined flesh and showed us his unblemished skin that had been protected. The message was clear.
Over 5,000 people are killed on the job every year in the US, many of the cases are preventable. Charles G Hood is the Chief Operating Officer at Off The Hook Maintenance and knows the importance of safety.
He recently posted on Facebook showing just why it's so important.
A man was working when a grinder disc flew apart. A portion was embedded into a nearby wall, while another portion headed straight for the worker's eye. Thankfully, he was wearing proper eye protection.
The post has now been shared almost 200K times, with even more reactions. Workplace safety is something that touches everyone's life and if sharing these experiences make people around us safer, then that's what we should do.