It kills me when people proclaim to be safety conscious and yet act carelessly. You cannot see it, but the back of this guys shirt says Safety Leader. When I stopped to inquire if he knew what he was doing was wrong and sending a poor message, he had the audacity to ask if I was just going to lecture him or could he go back to work.
If your going to wear a shirt that makes a statement that you are a safety leader, you should lead by example and practice sound judgement.
I am stealing this concept from a fellow co-worker, but I just had to share it. When conducting an accident investigation, performing a root cause analysis can be challenging. Let me simplify it for you. Ask yourself these few simple questions to determine where the breakdown occurred.
1. Did they know?
-Did they know the right way to perform the task?
-Did they know the correct process or procedure?
-if not, you might have a training issue.
2. Do they care?
-Do they care about doing the job right?
-Is the company culture such that it’s okay to disregard safety protocol?
-do they understand why they need to perform the task that way?
-If not, you may have a communication or behavioral issue.
3. Do they have the right resources?
-Do they have the proper tools or equipment to do the job correctly and safe?
-Do they have management support and financial backing to safely do the job?
-If not you might have a management issue.
4. Is there an incentive to take shortcuts?
-Are they pressured to just get the job done?
-Are you incentivizing outcomes rather than behaviors?
-Is there any accountability or recourse for not following protocol and safe work practices?
-If so, you might have a management, cultural, or behavioral issue.
Ask yourself these questions next time you conduct an accident investigation to see where you can improve and prevent future incidents from happening.
Here is a common sight in any office and yet so easy to correct. Electrical cords running in a walk area or where people stand, sit, or otherwise occupy. Easy fix to tape down or put a rug over it to minimize the slip/trip/fall hazard. Also helps with preventing damage to the electrical equipment and accidentally pulling the laptop off of the table.
Hazards such as this are simple to control, but cause more accidents and injuries than many other hazards. Not only are these accidents preventable, but when they do occur, they tend to be costly and have a long recovery time.
This months photo addresses unseen hazards, or those that are not in our normal line of sight. How often do you look up to identify potential hazards? This was taken in the drive through of a major fast food chain. Although the entrance is not used very often, it does get used occasionally by employees as well as guests. What would happen if that ice and snow let go at the wrong time? Some would say that’s why you have insurance, but I would counter with there is more to this potential accident than just personal injury.
I want to emphasize the importance of conducting equipment inspections. Our employees rely on various types of equipment to get their job done efficiently and safely and it is our job as the safety professional to ensure that they have the right tools and training to get the job done, but how often have you pulled up on a jobsite and found the equipment you provided them in a state of disrepair? I found this to be true with my service department and the ladders on their vehicles. Ladders are a tools that is commonly used and imperative to get many jobs done. However, these highly useful tools are often left on top of the vehicle and subjected to sun, weather, road conditions, and other forms of distress. It’s not just a matter of training your employees on how to conduct a good ladder inspection, but to hold them accountable to following through on these inspections. What do your ladders look like?
What is a safety professional? Do we have a code of honor or professional conduct we abide by?
How many of you would stop and talk to a complete stranger because he was standing on the top two steps of a ladder? I did (see photo below). I did not yell, I did not raise my voice, I did not talk down to him, I simply stated that I was a safety professional and I noticed he was putting himself at risk and I did not want to see him get hurt. I asked him if he knew what he was doing wrong and he responded with a five minute conversation about OSHA and safety. He knew he was putting himself at risk, but he was just trying to get the job done. I then proceeded to ask him if he had a bigger ladder he could use and he said he did have one on his truck and that he would go and get it. He in fact did have one available for use and he got it and continued his work. Now he is safe and able to perform his duties without fear of harm (or at least less chance of injury). He even thanked me for pointing out his mistake and appreciated the fact that I said something.
The thing is if I had not intervened and something happened, would I be at fault? Would I have violated my oath as a safety professional involved and active in the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE)? I know I would not be able to look at myself and say I am a safety professional if that happened. Sometimes people are not trained in the proper way to work safely, other times they are just focused on their job and not paying attention. I believe that it is our job as safety professionals to step up and make a difference where we can and help to educate those who are not being given the opportunity to succeed and stay safe by their employers.
Here is a link to OSHA’s current Fall Protection/Prevention Campaign. This site has some good tools and resources to assist you in promoting fall hazard awareness in construction. This is a joint effort from numerous safety organizations and regulatory agencies around the country.