Practice the Dutch Reach!
Have you ever heard of the Dutch Reach? I hadn’t until recently, when I came across an article about bike safety in the Netherlands, where the use of bicycles for everyday transportation is incredibly common.
I found out that “the Dutch Reach” is a method of opening a car door from the inside with your far hand in order to turn your body to look for cyclists. The idea is that you “reach, swivel, look out and back, open slowly.” Doing so can prevent your door from injuring a cyclist.
This method is ingrained into the country’s traffic safety code, is taught at driver training classes and licensing exams, and through public safety campaigns. The technique has been promoted there for 50 years—so much so, that it has become a habit for many drivers and passengers.
The technique is just starting to gain momentum in Canada. Some cities have started to introduce fines for “dooring” a cyclist, but until people are in the habit of looking before opening, accidents will continue to happen.
This prompted me to start thinking about safety in our workplaces. We can read the safety policies in our workplaces and try to follow them, but to really ingrain them into our workplace routines and make them a habit, we need to take a bit of extra effort to really understand the importance of workplace safety rules.
• Make sure you understand the rules and policies; don’t be afraid to ask questions;
• Follow the rules; don’t be tempted to take shortcuts;
• If you notice an unsafe practice in your workplace, bring it forward to the appropriate individuals, which may include the Health and Safety committee. If possible, make a suggestion about how to improve the practice;
• If you witness or are involved in a near-miss incident, report it; doing so may prevent a future workplace injury;
• Ask how you can get involved in Health and Safety at your workplace.
Let’s try make safety a habit to ensure that we not only follow workplace Health and Safety rules, but that we also look out for each other. And practice the Dutch Reach!