Edited by Bob Lapidus, CSP, CSMS
You have been invited to do a facility safety inspection.
- You enter and immediately pick up the scent of a chemical. Your sense of smell has kicked in and you need to discover what the scent is telling you. Is it toxic or harmful in any way? You commence inquiring to ensure the organization knows whether they have a problem or not. You note the issue in your inspection comments.
- You enter a large space and the noise is deafening. Your sense of hearing is alive and well. You are given a pair of ear plugs to wear to protect your hearing. You will inquire as to the status of a hearing conservation program.
- Coming around the bend, you rub against a hot metal surface that was not signed to let you know that it was hot. Your sense of touch kept you from being burned. You write down the hazard and slip in a suggestion for corrective action.
- In another room, you pick up what seems like an odor, but you can actually feel it on your tongue. Your sense of taste offers you a new perspective as to something else in the air. You note this sensation and seek to find out more about what you are detecting.
- All the while you have been doing your inspection, you have been seeing both a well-maintained facility and safety problems. Your sense of sight has been the cause of these observations.
- Your primary five senses have helped you in your pursuit of identifying safety problems in the workplace, but don’t forget your sixth sense: There have been proposed many different possible sixth senses, but I suggest that our intuition may indeed be a strong one that we should not ignore. When we see, taste, smell, touch, or hear, we are incorporating a variety of information into our knowledge base. Sometimes there are things in the environment that we cannot sense by our usual five senses, but we feel there is something else going on. Our intuition is that sense. It gives us something that we know or consider likely from an instinctive feeling rather than conscious reasoning. We need to pay attention to those thoughts that come to us to help us determine what is happening.
In safety, we truly need to use our senses to identify potential problems in our environment, and we need to compile all this information so we may make the optimum recommendations to mitigate these concerns and ensure safe and healthy facilities.
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After completing this nine-day program, graduates may take the exam to achieve the Certified Safety Management Specialist (CSMS) designation. Recipients of the CSMS receive a beautiful plaque and become part of an elite group of safety specialists who have achieved this recognition. Once this certification is attained, successful candidates keep it for the rest of their lives without any additional requirements or fees.