#7 Accident Prevention
Accident prevention techniques have been cultivated and refined in recent years to such an extent that a lost work time accident is no longer considered to be an inevitable cost of doing business. An analysis of all accidents reveals that the large majority of accidents and injuries are not caused by “conditions” at the workplace but by employees performing “unsafe acts”. Unsafe acts are typically characterized by employees doing things that they haven’t properly been trained to do safely, doing things in a hurry, taking shortcuts or even “horsing around”.
Safety has often taken a backseat to performance and quality, but new “total quality management” techniques have led to an understanding of the real cost of accidents and injury in terms of human suffering, morale, lost time and productivity, as well as the direct costs associated with medical costs and higher workers’ compensation premiums. This has helped make safety management a top priority and a key to business success.
Safety engineering has tended to dwell on ensuring that the physical elements at the worksite are safer. New, enlightened risk management is focusing effort on safe behavior and safer attitudes by employees at all levels and on reducing the risks of incurring lost time and subsequent financial losses. Everyone from the chief executive down is involved in drawing attention to the consequences of unsafe acts.
From the safety policy statement, to the safety committee meetings, pro-active accident investigations (seeking to prevent any similar occurrences from happening in the future), tailgate talks, interactive safety training and education, hazard communications and codes of safe practices are each making a contribution to a whole new outlook on safety. The sum of each of these components is together changing our way of doing business. The part being played by each actively involved employee is collectively making a tremendous difference to the bottom line. A safer workplace and a more secure financial future for the business are in everyone’s interest. Accidents can be prevented and the facts are conspiring to prove it!