employers to “furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees.” May’s article discussed the need for management commitment to the safety process as well as the need to conduct a worksite analysis to determine what hazards are present in the workplace and what needs to be done to mitigate their effect upon employees. It is essential to perform routine documented worksite inspections to ensure ongoing implementation of the established program and to determine if new hazards develop and need to be addressed.
we all know that accidents happen in the workplace. Step Two in your
to Safety is ensuring that effective accident investigations are conducted, the
root cause of the accident is identified and steps are taken to correct the
identified root cause.
occur when hazards escape detection during the worksite analysis, when hazards
are not obvious, or as the result of combinations of circumstances that were
difficult to foresee. A thorough accident investigation may identify previously
overlooked physical, environmental, administrative, or process hazards, the
need for new or more extensive safety training, or unsafe work practices.
All accidents or near misses should be investigated. The
depth and complexity of the investigation will vary with the circumstances and
seriousness of the accident or near miss. It is management’s responsibility to
ensure that the investigation is completed and recommendations from the
investigation are implemented.
an accident occurs, the first priority is to deal with the emergency and ensure
that any injury or illness receive prompt first aid or medical attention and that
any dangerous environmental factors are corrected or cordoned off so additional
injuries do not occur. The accident investigation should begin immediately
thereafter. How to conduct the investigation?
Ask who, what, when, how, and why. Talk with the injured employee and witnesses.
Check the accident site and reconstruct the events that resulted in the
accident, considering all possible causes. Take pictures of the scene. Be
thorough. Small details may point to the real cause. Determine unsafe conditions
or actions that separately or in combination were contributing factors.
the root cause, or the origin or essential core of why the accident occurred,
must be identified in order to effectively prevent future accidents. Literature
has identified seven factors that are the root cause of most industrial
accidents. These include: inadequate training, poor enforcement of rules and
regulations, failure to inspect, no written job specifications, questionable
purchasing methods, design problems, and questionable employee selection. Do
you notice that all of the root causes are areas that fall under management’s
responsibilities? Management must determine what actions are essential to
control or eliminate the root cause of the accident and ensure that those
actions are implemented. Secondary causes of accidents also must be addressed. A
toolbox talk entitled “Attitudes and Behaviors That Cause Accidents” is
second step on the path to an effective safety program can positively impact
your productivity, the health and well-being of your employees, and a better
article was written in conjunction with participants in the OSHA and ASA
Alliance. It does not necessarily reflect the official views of OSHA or the
U.S. Department of Labor.