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Most of us like to get our work done with the least amount of effort, and as quickly as possible. We all want to get the most work out of the energy we use on the job. With good preplanning, this is good because it often results in discovering newer and more efficient ways of getting our job done.

This energy-saving attitude can also be bad if we make a wrong decision and take dangerous shortcuts. All of us at one time or another have exposed ourselves to possible injury by taking a shortcut when, with a little extra effort, we could have done it the safe way. When we were kids, we took shortcuts by jumping the fence instead of using the gate. Now that we are adults we do it by crossing the street between the intersections because we want to get there as quickly as possible, and use the least amount of energy we can while doing it.

There is no doubt, the safe way is not always the shortest or quickest way. The safe way usually takes some extra effort while the unsafe way often appears to be more efficient at the time. When we are faced with these situations, each one of us will make a conscious decision about what actions we will take next.

These days, most of us work for companies that demand we take the extra time to do the job safely. However, sometimes we talk ourselves into taking an unsafe shortcut by flawed reasoning. We convince ourselves that it is worth taking the risk because we're in a hurry and can probably get away with it this time without being injured. After all, we have done it before and were not injured then.

Take the electrician who was working on a ladder. He was almost finished with the job except for a little work that he could do only by reaching a little farther than he knew was safe. He knew he would be taking a chance, so he had to make a decision whether to get down and move the ladder or to take a shortcut.

If he took the shortcut, he may get away without having an accident, or he may fall and suffer an injury that will change his whole life or even end it. Whatever the result, his decision to take a chance is not a good one. Whether he wins or loses this time, risking his neck to save a few minutes' time is rolling the dice - a gamble that he will, eventually, lose.

When you get right down to it though, most of us take shortcuts to save time and because the safe way is just too much trouble. Like using the wrong tool because it's too much trouble to get the right one. Or maybe lifting more than you know is safe because it's too much trouble to get someone to help you. Or working at heights without fall protection, because it's too much trouble to go get a safety belt and tie off. Or even using a chipping hammer without safety goggles because it was too much trouble to go hunt up a pair.

If you come across a coworker that is putting themselves at risk, remember to 'Stop the Job' and discuss with them the safer options for doing the job.

Remember, you have a choice. The safe way is usually not always the shortest or quickest way, but ultimately it's your decision. Make it the right one.

As always, Anadarko is concerned for the safety of its employees, contractors and their families. We encourage you to share this information with anyone who may benefit from its content.

Written By: Kevin Skipworth of Anadarko Petroleum

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