Reporting All Incidents
|Who Is Responsible for Safety?|
Safety is everyone’s responsibility! As an employee, you should:
Everyone must be aware of potential hazards on the job:
- Learn to work safely and take all rules seriously. Know why the rules are there and communicate it to employees who do not understand why.
- Recognize hazards and avoid them.
- Report all accidents, injuries and illness to your supervisor immediately. Inspect tools before use to avoid injury.
- Wear all assigned personal protective equipment.
A close call incident does not often result in injuries?
- Poor housekeeping results in slips, trips and falls.
- Electricity can cause shocks, burns or fire if not handled properly.
- Poor material handling may cause back problems or other injuries.
- Tools and equipment can cause injuries if guards or protective devices are disengaged.
Ignoring a close call means you could be paving the way for a serious injury to happen. You must take the time to report all close calls so they can be investigated and the hazard removed before someone does get hurt. For every reported first aid or minor injury, there are on average hundreds of close calls incidents that have gone unreported.
Close calls are situations in which a worker has a narrow escape from getting hurt. The worker probably feels lucky about getting away uninjured. If we pay attention, these incidents can be lucky in another way: They provide a preview of an injury that could happen, so measures can be taken now to prevent it. Report all incidents, including near misses, no matter how small.
Why report all incidents?
A journeyman picks up a power drill and gets a slight electric shock. He quickly drops the tool, suffering no injury. At this point, he has an important choice to make. If he just forgets the incident, the next person to pick up the tool may have damp hands or may be standing in a puddle of water. That person is bound to get a severe shock. However, if the incident is reported, the tool will be removed from service, checked over and either repaired by qualified personnel or discarded. There will also be a chance to find out why this tool became defective. Was it poorly designed or manufactured? Has the insulation been allowed to get wet or is the cord frayed? How can problems be avoided in the future - perhaps by buying better tools, taking good care of them and inspecting them regularly?
Here's another example: An employee starts cutting the wrong line during a demolition almost creating a hazardous release of chemicals. He catches his error in time, and no harm is done. Again, at this point he has two choices. He can shrug it off, or he can talk to his supervisor about the close call he just had. He may be able to keep another worker or even himself from making the same mistake and causing a chemical accident. An investigation may disclose a flaw in the process, making such errors likely or it may show the workers are distracted by fatigue, noise or other factors.
Being aware of near misses off the job can also help prevent accidents. If you have a close call driving in traffic, take the time to review what happened, and why and how you could avoid such problems in the future. If you slip while you are walking, check to see why it happened. A review of the incident might prevent broken bones from a fall in the future.
If you have a near miss, consider yourself lucky on two counts: You didn't get hurt, and you have the chance to prevent a future accident for yourself or someone else.
Teamwork - Looking Out for One Another
The following are reminders on how to help others stay safe by being a team player:
- Don’t pass the buck! Look out for everyone not just yourself.
- Take advantage of teachable moments. Your knowledge and experience may have taken years to accumulate and can be useful to newer employees. Share those “How To’s” and be a mentor in a sincere helpful manner.
- Warn others! Be the Paul Revere of Safety and let people know when there is a hazard in their work area. They might not have even seen it or lack respect for it because they just don’t know.
- Lead by example. Actions speak louder than words and it is important that we all set the safety example with our actions.
- No sabotage allowed. Don’t leave a trap for others by ignoring a hazard or leaving a broken piece of equipment for others to use.
- Encourage early incident injury reporting. Those first few minutes may be the difference.
- Reminders—remind each other to wear the appropriate PPE for the job and task.
- Encourage other workers to ask questions when they don’t fully understand or if they haven’t retained something.
- Empowerment—stop the unsafe act and escalate it for assistance.
- Own your safety and the safety of those around you.