Avoid Repeating Accidents
 March 21, 2011

Wouldn’t it be great if you looked at your workers’ compensation loss report and saw nothing? No claims, no losses. Unfortunately, that is probably unrealistic. The manufacturing process is fraught with lacerations and contusions, as well as, strains and sprains. Although avoiding any work-related injury should be every employer’s goal, it is probably not achievable. But, a very realistic objective is to avoid repeating the same types of accidents over and over.

We've learned that most accidents result from human error. Human error can be an employee rushing to complete a task or making a decision to shortcut a safety practice. Wonder how you can avoid repeating the same types of accidents? Let’s look at some don’ts and then what you can do:

DON’T
Don’t send mixed messages. Although productivity is always a concern, sacrificing safety doesn't produce an increase in productivity. Make sure that employees understand that both productivity and safety are your organization's top priorities.

Don't discipline without offering to help or retrain. If safety rules are broken and it’s necessary to discipline an employee, do so while offering to help them correct and improve their performance.

Don’t lecture employees. Seldom do people respond well to a lecture. Often the information goes in one ear and out the other. Lecturing does not vest employees in safety practices. Engage them actively in managing their own safety performance.

Don’t lay blame. Employees will make mistakes, but blaming seldom solves the problem. Instead, investigate. Learn why the employee made the decision that led to their injury and work together to determine ways of avoiding safety mistakes in the future.

Don’t give useless pep talks. Actions always speak louder than words so ensure that you back your words up by making real safety improvements and offering assistance and support where you can.

DO
Set goals to eliminate repeat accidents.
Clearly communicate this is a priority to the workforce.

Prepare the organization to meet this goal. This might include additional training or increasing supervisory oversight. It may even include changes in procedures or how equipment is used.

Communicate your priorities. Employees should understand the goals of the organization, especially safety goals. They should also understand the steps and procedures necessary to reach those goals and that eliminating repeat accidents is a companywide objective.

Recognize positive results. If you're promoting an accident free culture, encourage employees to participate in safety programs and recognize good performance when it occurs. You can use a variety of low-cost incentives and rewards to reinforce the organization’s commitment to working safely.Make hazard detection a priority.

Encourage everyone to examine how they conduct their work and the equipment they use. Look for potential injury causing hazards including worn equipment and faulty procedures that could lead to injury.

It may sound trite, but safety is not an accident. It requires planning and execution. For more help in developing safety objectives and plans contact the CMTA Workers’ Comp. Group at mailto:wcgroup@CMTA.net

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