- Tying the sheet as a cause of boating accidents.
- Many accidents due to thoughtless carelessness.
- The motto of “Safety First”; what it means.
- But risks must sometimes be run.
“It is a well-known fact”, wrote Robert Louis Stevens on, “that lot of boat accidents would never happen if people help the sheet in their hands instead of making it fast”. The right way to manage a sailing boat is to hold rope (“sheet”) that regulates the sail in your hand. Then, if the wind suddenly shifts, you can at once loosen or tighten the sail, or change it right over. It is, of course, easier to tie the rope and leave your hands free; but it is risky to do this. For if the wind suddenly veers round, your boat may be upset before you have time to untie the rope; and then you may be drowned.
This is just one illustration of the fact that many serious accidents and deaths are due to laziness, carelessness, and want of thought. And it is surprising how careless people are in very ordinary things. Among the careless things the people do and that often lead to serious accidents, are:
- Filling oil-stoves or lamps when they are lighted.
- Throwing away lighted matches, or cigarette ends.
- Running across the street in front of a motor-car.
- Sitting in wet clothes, because it is too much trouble to change into dry ones.
- Jumping off a train or tram when it is moving.
- Lighting a cigarette while the tank of a motor-car is being filled with petrol.
- Lighting matches in a room where there is an escape of gas.
- Throwing banana skins on to the pavement for others to slip on.
So one might go on, giving example after example of foolish carelessness; but these are enough to show how necessary it is to take as one motto in life, “Safety First!” It means simply-Do not take unnecessary risks; use your commonsense, and avoid the ordinary dangers of life; keep your eyes and ears open, and be on the alert; remember that it is not worthwhile to lose your life for the sake of avoiding a little trouble or attention. In a word, be careful, for your own sake and for the sake of others.
But “Safety First” does not mean that we must never run any risks. For there are times when your own safety is not most important thing. It is only against unnecessary and silly risks that the motto of “Safety First” is aimed.