Column: Hail Mary, Full of Grace, Blessed Is Your Hardhat … .
When my father was in Vietnam, he had the nose of his F-105 Thunderchief fighter jet blown off flying missions well into North Vietnam airspace. He looked down at his feet and saw open air underneath them. His survival and the ability to get that plane flown back to friendly territory, south of the Mekong River, was 100% dependent on his training.
And herein lies the message this week: We all have safety training and classes on how to perform maintenance and a host of other do’s and don’t’s every month. There’s even more if you happen to be a company pumper.
I swear, if I’ve heard lockout/tagout once, I’ve heard it 60,000 times. Wearing a hardhat is said so much that the phrase swims in my head. It even pops up when I’m saying the Rosary.
“Hail Mary, full of grace, blessed is your hardhat.” No, wait, that’s not how that goes.
And yet, how many of us climb a tank to gauge it while blabbing into our cell phones?
How many of us decide it’s too hot to wear our hard hats?
How many of us blow down a compressor and don’t allow enough time for the gas to clear before restarting the engine?
I have done this, and just a note here, so did a good friend of mine, and he blew himself up. He lived but was burned badly.
Here’s one you have probably never done: putting oil in a pumping unit without clutching the unit and putting the brake on. Yep, I’m guilty, too.
What I’m getting at is that there is a reason those things are said, said again, and said one more time by our company men and corporate leaders.
As I have aged, maybe because I’m more aware of my mortality, I take 30 seconds now before I do anything on my units and ask myself, “What could happen if I do this?”
It has saved my life.