Hazard Recognition Can Lead to Safer Workplaces

[tweetmeme]Unfortunately, many workers are seriously injured on the job each year, and many people still believe that accidents “just happen.”   Accidents, however, do not just happen.   Many accidents are preventable with the proper attention to safety.   What goes wrong?   Often, several errors occur simultaneously to cause an accident.   When analyzing accidents, focus should be both on those aspects of tasks that were controlled and those that were not.

Assuming that workers have been properly trained and all the proper materials and tools were available, what else can go wrong?   A lot!   Accidents are most frequently due to haste and poor planning.

Don’t Take Safety Shortcuts

When workers get out on the job with a supervisor monitoring their output, they are expected to achieve production goals.   If they feel their jobs are on the line, safety may take a back seat to production.   This often means poor choices are made that put them and co-workers at risk.   Don’t forget: these incidents have a negative impact on production, because dealing with them requires valuable time and money.

Plan Ahead

It is the worker’s responsibility to work safely, and that means taking time to review what is to be done–and what could go wrong.   All employees should make it a habit to check out the site and assure the work can be done without mishaps.   It may help to remember the Six Ps: Proper Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance!

Identify Hazards

The following questions should be asked to help predict what could go wrong and how risks might be controlled:

  • Are the site and the job the same as depicted on the plans?
  • Are the necessary materials available to perform the work safely? 
  • Does everyone have the proper tools to perform the tasks at hand safely? 
  • Is there an appropriate number of workers present to complete the work safely?    Have they all had safety training?
  • Are environmental conditions such as light, noise and weather a factor in jobsite safety?
  • Have other subs on the job been notified about hazardous tasks or materials?
  • Does everyone have all the PPE (personal protective equipment) for this job?

Don’t wait for accidents to occur; think and plan ahead!   Anticipate, evaluate and control hazards!

source: Missouri On-Site Safety and Health Program, Missouri Department of Labor March 1010 Newsletter

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