Accidents occur for many reasons.They can be due to carelessness, lack of training, personal issues, and even employee behavior. While your employer has the ultimate responsibility for providing a safe workplace, you must also do your part to prevent accidents from happening. This week we’ll take a broad review of contributing factors so that we don’t get complacent.
Monday, April 8
Behaviors that Contribute to Accidents
Your performance on the job and the way you get your work done can be what causes or prevents injuries. Consider the behaviors described below. Avoiding these behaviors can help prevent incidents and keep you safe on the job.
- Taking shortcuts: Every day we make decisions in order to increase job efficiency; however, taking shortcuts that risk your own safety or that of others should be avoided.
- Being over confident: While confidence is a good thing, overconfidence is not. “It won’t happen to me” is an attitude that causes carelessness on the job, which can potentially lead to an injury.
- Starting a task with incomplete instructions: To do the job safely and right the first time, you need complete information. Don’t be shy about asking for explanations about work procedures and safety precautions.
- Poor housekeeping: When clients, managers, or safety professionals walk through a job site, housekeeping is an accurate indicator of everyone’s attitude about quality, production, and safety. Poor housekeeping creates hazards of all types, while good housekeeping results in a safer workplace.
- Ignoring safety procedures: Purposely failing to observe safety procedures can endanger you and your co-workers. Be sure to always follow company safety policies. Talk to your supervisor if you have suggestions for improving safety policies.
- Mental distractions from work: Dropping your mental guard can pull your focus away from safe work procedures. Don’t become a statistic because you took your eyes off the task at hand “just for a second.”
- Failure to inspect: Beginning work without carefully inspecting the machinery, tools, and safety equipment you plan to use is a recipe for trouble. Ensure that your equipment is in shape to safely complete your task. Immediately report defective equipment to your supervisor.
Tuesday, April 9
SAFE MATERIAL HANDLING
Workers suffer many painful injuries because they forget or are not properly trained in the basics of manual material handling. Here are a few pointers about lifting and safe handling of materials:
- Use required personal protective equipment.
- Think of your toes. Always wear steel toed shoes when lifting or handling heavy objects.
- Think of your hands. Wear good strong gloves when you handle anything rough, sharp, or splintery.
Tips before you lift:
- Test the load to determine its weight. Re-think lifting by yourself if the load is more than 35 pounds.
- Use tandem (multi-person) lifting or mechanical devices if the load is heavy or awkward.
- Be sure you've got a secure grip.
- Do not have anything in your hands other than the object you are lifting.
- Use lifting handles or handholds if provided. Strapping tape is not designed to serve as lifting handles.
- Be sure you have solid footing.
- Inspect the path you are going to follow while carrying the load. Make sure it is free of debris and obstacles.
- Check packaging to ensure it is secure and the load will not fall out while being handled.
Be wary when you carry:
- Keep the load close to your body to minimize the strain.
- If the object is over your head, get a ladder or lift to get to it more easily.
- Do not reach to get an object off a pallet. Turn the pallet or walk around it to get closer to the item.
- If the item is light, slide it closer to you. Be careful if the item is sliding over shrink wrap or a wooden pallet as it may get caught.
- Crouch down with the load between your legs and get a good grip on the object.
- Lift smoothly and slowly with your legs. Keep your back vertical.
- Keep your body facing the load throughout the lift and while moving the load. Don't twist your body; pivot with your feet instead of your spine.
- Carry the load close to your body in the space between your shoulders and waist.
- Do not block your view with the load.
- Resist the temptation to carry that one extra box to avoid another trip.
Use equipment when needed!
Wednesday, April 10
When using cranes to move large objects, stay aware of your surroundings and use proper rigging techniques.
- Is the work area clear of other workers? Typically the clear area should be 1.5 times the height of the object being lifted.
- Communicate with others. Yell, use whistles, call on radios and phones.
- Is the work stable/secure? If not, stop and secure the work before proceeding.
- If you feel that work is not safe, stop and talk with your Supervisor and/or the appropriate Safety Action Team.
- Listen for the crane horn or buzzer. This means to clear the area until it is safe to resume work.
- Use a spotter if needed. Another set of eyes can make a difference.
Thursday, April 11
When an incident occurs, scene safety takes priority. During a major incident the first person on the scene has command. This can be a First Responder or Supervisor. They will have command until relieved or may continue command if instructed to do so by their superior. The incident command will instruct others to clear the scene and tape off the area if needed.
- Have someone call 911 directly and, if needed, guide the ambulance to the proper door.
- Control the scene.
- Make the scene is safe. Secure objects, PPE, LOTO, etc.
- Assist the injured until a higher level of care is provided.
- Follow up. Are there any Bio-Hazards? Again proper PPE.
Any questions? Ask a First responder or SAT.
Friday, April 12
Lead through Leading Indicators
Leading indicators are metrics that track preventative safety activities before an accident occurs. A proven approach to reduce injuries is to choose leading indicators to drive increased safety performance and engagement instead of relying solely on corrective actions after accidents.
Safety training provides us with knowledge about the many aspects of workplace hazards. Training adds value to the work force by providing information and knowledge that employees can use to make educated decisions. Some training is mandatory because of laws and regulations that are in place by OSHA and the EPA, while others are more specific to the workplace, like 5-S or Machine Guarding safety.
Can anyone tell us what safety training we should have in our area or for tasks we may conduct?
Refresher training has an important role as well. You may have already had training on lock-out/tag-out last year but attending a refresher course may remind you of a particular incident or situation in which lock out/tag out was not properly used. You can add to the discussion by participating and sharing that information with others.
Finally, daily safety talks increase safety awareness and reinforce company values. Training metrics show that the more we provide appropriate and applicable safety training the more likely it is for injury numbers to decrease.
Remember to never take on a task you have not been trained in and speak up when you think additional training is needed for a task or procedure. Ask questions if you are unsure about something and make sure to make time to attend scheduled training sessions. These sessions are here to help you and to ensure you grow safely as an employee.
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