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Superstitions in Reference to Safety

Black cat on a beach

We have another Friday the 13th in July. Let’s take a look at a few more superstitions to see how they might impact safety in the workplace and home. As a reminder, a superstition for the purpose of this blog is a belief or notion that while irrational and not scientific seem to persist in society.

Superstition #1:
A black cat crossing your path brings bad luck

While many ancient civilizations held cats in high esteem like the Egyptians, there are others who feared them. In the Middle Ages people were very afraid of witches and magic. Throughout that craze, the belief was a witch could disguise or transform herself into a cat. The cat could then move more easily around a town causing mischief and mayhem. Cats were often blamed for disease outbreaks such as the plague.

Many sites have certain cleanliness standards. Those standards could include washing hands before and after work or leaving contaminated clothing at the facility. Now those rules don’t speak specifically to black cats, but you get my meaning. There is certainly nothing in any regulations in regards to having animals at home where they are often kept as pets. Certain city rules may limit the number of animals you can have or bans against certain breeds. I won’t go into my personal opinion on that topic. Animals at home just need to be taken care of and kept healthy.

Superstition #2:
Breaking a mirror is 7 years bad luck.

Here is another worldwide superstition that is still held today by some cultures. In theory, a mirror has the power to take a piece of someone’s soul. If that mirror were to break while a person’s image is in it then that piece of their soul would be trapped inside.

Interestingly enough, from a safety point of view, breaking a mirror can have some dangerous consequences. Depending on how or what breaks the mirror, there is a risk of glass fragments entering the eye. Cleanup of the broken glass can also cause a sharps hazard. Even though the theory behind the superstition is a bit flawed, there is some truth to broken mirrors causing a safety hazard at home and the workplace.

Superstition #3:
Step on a crack and break your mother’s back

This is a bit of an odd one. It actually comes from a game played by children. The idea of the game is to not step on any cracks while on the playground or sidewalk. Each time a child would step on a crack or line then they were out of the game. The winner was the last one standing. There was even a little rhyme that went with the game.

The poem is as follows:


Step on a crack,
You’ll break your mother’s back;
Step on a line,
You’ll break your father’s spine.
Step in a ditch,
Your mother’s nose will itch;
Step in the dirt,
You’ll tear your father’s shirt.

This one could actually be considered part of safety if you look at it from an OSHA perspective. One of the top ten violations every year is in regards to fall protection. Many of us know it as “slips, trips, and falls”. Cracks in pavement, sidewalks or floors inside a building or home can be hazardous. If not repaired they can lead to some tripping and falling.

While these are just a few more superstitions in honor of Friday, the 13th, take time to review your workplace and policies. Perhaps now is when you can review or refresh of your written safety plans. Maybe order new signs for certain areas. Possibly update your container or workplace labeling as required by OSHA HazCom 2012 and soon to be needed for WHMIS 2015. Another good idea is to see when you or shipping department is due for their next hazardous material or dangerous goods training. Call us today to see how we can help. We can do all of these things and more.

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