Introducing OSHA Mom

While ten hours of online OSHA training took more than twelve hours to complete and left me with haunting visions of electrocution, suffocation and 16d nails lodged in the skull, the required certification has had one remarkably cheerful impact: Finally, the rest of my construction classmates are beginning to understand what I worry about.

As a mom—three times as old as some of my classmates—I bet I’ve been in the emergency room three times more than most of them. I know firsthand why we don’t run with sharp objects, why we treat altitude with respect, why we wear protective eyewear. Hell, I’m still filling out the insurance paperwork.

After twelve excruciating hours of gruesome online OSHA training, my classmates understand better why I nag them about being careful. Now, when I hand them a pair of goggles or holler at them for wearing a jaunty scarf while they rip boards on the table saw, at least they correct their infraction before making fun of me and calling me “OSHA Mom.”

“Hey, OSHA Mom, look at me. I’m cutting 3/4-inch PVC with the reciprocating saw pointing right at my femoral artery.”

“Hey, OSHA Mom, I’m standing on the top rung of a ladder.”

They can mock OSHA Mom if they want, but I think I’m getting through to them. Today, when I headed out of the shop to the worksite, where we were laying out a steel stud wall, one of the guys actually said, “Be safe.”

“Thanks. You too,” I said, reflexively checking to see if he was wearing protective eyewear. Then I added, “OSHA Mom worries, you know.”

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