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  • Writer's pictureTroy Marble

All Too Familiar

Back when I was in high school, my brother hired me to help him build his house. He paid me $5.00 per hour and back then, that was pretty good money. I worked the entire summer with him and we did everything together. He ran the back hoe and I ran the shovel. He laid the block and I mixed the mortar. It was hard work, but at the end of the summer, I had a little cash and he had a new house. Working on his house, taught me a lot about the different parts of construction. Just about the time I started to understand the type of work we were doing, we changed to a different task. He was a good teacher and I was eager to learn. He took the time to show me how to build and I’ll always appreciate that summer with my brother.

One of the most valuable things that I learned from my brother was how to use a Skilsaw. He showed me all of the tricks about using them properly and I remembered them. You can’t be a good carpenter if you can’t run a Skilsaw properly.

Ok, so fast forward a few years. I was working as a carpenter foreman on a job in Phoenix. I had about 8 guys on my crew and I would have put them up against any crew out there. We were getting a lot of work done and the way I like to remember it, making good money for the company.

The best guy on my crew was named Steve, this guy could build anything, he made it look easy. All I had to do was steer him in the right direction and he made us all look pretty good.

Steve was working overtime one night, installing form work on a concrete beam. Steve called me on the radio and asked me to stop what I was doing and come see him right now. I went over to see Steve and much to my surprise, there was blood all over the deck. Steve had his shirt wrapped around his hand.

As he peeled it away to show me, it almost made me sick. He was using a Skilsaw to cut some plywood, something he had done a thousand times. He didn’t take the time to adjust the blade depth. He didn’t take the time to set the plywood on his saw horses. Even though he knew what to do, he didn’t do it. The saw bound up and skipped across the plywood striking the back of his hand. I can’t remember how many stitches Steve got that day but I do think of Steve often, every time use a Skilsaw.

Be careful not to be so familiar with something that you let yourself accept the risk.

Be consciously aware of what you are doing.

Take time to revisit old trainings, just because you learned something one time doesn't mean you'll remember it forever.

Keep up to date on your certifications. They aren't just a piece of paper.

Keep an eye out on the jobsite. If you see another crew member working in an unsafe manner, care enough to stop them and correct it.

Be careful and care about each other. Your safety matters.

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