Trying to keep it real

It wouldn’t be an Editor’s Note from 2012 if it didn’t talk about ladders, right? Here’s the latest on the rungs versus rails debate mentioned in my May note: As promised, we’re featuring some of your responses in this month’s Letters section. We’ll include more next month and then see if the discussion seems ready to come to a close or wants to remain open. Thanks for letting S+H be a part of the conversation.

The whole ladder issue, you may remember, stems from some incorrect photos that made their way into the magazine. As the publication of a nonprofit organization that puts its funds directly back into its mission, S+H’s photo budget is small, and although we do everything we can to obtain images from article sources, government and academia, we still rely heavily on stock photography.

At first glance, stock photo websites seem like a treasure trove of every scenario a publication about worker safety could conceivably want. But as a magazine committed to showing best practices, we find ourselves rejecting image after image of workers not wearing correct personal protective equipment or those engaged in practices that would make a safety professional’s blood run cold. We also struggle to find photos of workers who aren’t holding blueprints (a favorite prop of construction-site photos) or sporting shiny new hard hats and spotless T-shirts and looking like they auditioned for the Village People but didn’t make the cut.

What we’re looking for is realism. This is my way of asking if you’ll share any best-practices photos of real situations – trenching, manufacturing work, safety meetings, you name it – to help us build up our photo library. We have no fabulous prizes to offer, but what we know of safety professionals leads us to hope that the chance to have your photos featured in the magazine – and help keep even more workers safe – will be reward enough. If you can help us out, please email me at [email protected].

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