Accident Investigations and Root Cause Simplified

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.


Safety Photo April 2013

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.

Safety Photo March 2013

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.


Safety Photo February 2013

Here is a good example of doing something half-way. Looks to me like they knew what to do, but didn’t do I completely correct. The end rails were on one side (although a little to far forward to adequately protect from falls) but they were not on the other side. Makes me wonder what else they did (or did not do).


Safety Photo January 2013

I find it frustrating when people know what to do, but only halfway do it. Take this photo for example. The guy put his outriggers down, and he used some blocking under the foot pad however, he could have used a better placement of the pad. He is not utilizing the weight distribution as well as he could. Not that this will result in an accident nor does it necessarily violate a safety rule, but it does reflect on the culture and attitudes of him and his company.


Safety Photo December 2012

IMG_4762 IMG_4750

These two photos reflect issues I see every day with regards to chemcial safety and container labeling and the rest of the Hazard Communication standard. I see spray bottles, drink bottles, buckets, etc. filled with all kinds of fluids (who knows what they are because they are not labeled or are misslabeled). Container labeling can be a serios problem if not properly addressed with employees. I have seen fatalities as a result of someone drinking something they htought was a sports drink, but turned out to be a toxic chemical. Or injuries resulting from chemicals breaking through or disoolving containers that they should never have been in to begin with.

Are you prpared for the changes in the HAZCOM standard and the new GHS requirements?

Safety Photo November 2012

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?