What do rap music and industrial safety have in common? Most of us would answer, not sure. To Bob Allen, Leo Bartoski and Tim Ryan of ITT Corporation in Morton Grove, Il, rap is a vehicle to promote their message of workplace safety. Allen is a production supervisor in the domestic pump factory and a member of the emergency response team. Ryan serves as the UAW Local 890 safety representative at the ITT Morton Grove facility in addition to his duties as warehouse attendant in the domestic pump warehouse. Bartoski is also a UAW Local 890 member and an electro mechanical assembler in the domestic pump factory.
Bartoski thought that music might be a fun way to communicate a strong safety message. Ryan and Allen agreed and the three began to write the lyrics to the “Industrial Safety Rap.” They drew from their combined 60 years of industrial experience and wrote the lyrics in about one hour. The lyric in the rap about Captain Hook was included in honor of Ryan’s father-in-law, Julius “Hook” Gartner who worked as a crane operator (thus the nickname Hook) at the ITT facility for more than 45 years.
Bartoski knew that they did not have the skills to put the words to music so he asked his nephews, Greg and Tony Okal, to record the rap. Both Greg and Tony are business majors at Loyola University in Chicago and have been involved in acting and music for a number of years. Although the Okal brothers are not rap fans nor rap artists, they arranged and recorded the song in their basement studio. The result is the “Industrial Safety Rap” that so far has had more than 35,000 hits on its MySpace page and has received air time on several labor radio stations.
You can hear “Industrial Safety Rap” at www.myspace.com/industrialsafety. The lyrics follow:
Industrial Safety Rap Lyrics
Here’s a little rap about our safety woes
Raising safety is for the pros
Remember health job and peace of mind
Are always most important always worth your time
So listen up…yea…here we go
Watch your back don’t you abuse it
With too much weight unnatural movements
Lightly easily and carefully
Or you’re just asking for surgery
Yea…and that’s not fun
Gotta be careful of what you can’t see
Power, wires, electricity
Cause if it’s AC or battery
Just know the shock’ll skip your heart a beat
You’re like a Christmas tree
Safety shoes are always required
And if you don’t wear them you’ll be retired
And if you dance well you’ll never lead
Cause you can’t dance well without your feet
So why you gonna take the chance?
You wanna go to work in the Caribbean
Take the guards off while you’re machining
You’ll be the pirate you wanna be
Now you’re captain hook of —
Hey look no hands
You gotta wear your safety glasses
You can’t take your eyes for granted
Hurt those eyes and a you can’t see
Forever blinded you’re gonna be
Yea you’ll need a dog to lead
Don’t drive too fast or you’ll never last
Don’t drive too slow or you’ll never go
When you’re driving watch and see
When you’re gonna drive do it carefully
Oh check your speed
It’s in your hands
You gotta follow the plan
It’s your safety
It’s what you gotta demand
It’s in your hands
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