SAFETY SOLUTIONS: How They Got Hurt
Recently, I presented a speech at the American
Society of Safety Engineers, International Conference
in Las Vegas. My speech was entitled, “So You
Want To Be An Expert, Eh?” I thought of all the times that
I have been asked to be an expert witness for one side or
the other and the end result was always the same.
Someone was hurt and a lawsuit ensued.
Let’s face it, no one wants to get hurt on the job or elsewhere.
Yet, each year millions of workers suffer worksite
injuries that were largely preventable. Knowing leading
causes of these injuries is the first step in learning how to
protect against them.
Management’s attitude plays the most important part in
accident prevention. The other day I was out working with
one of my clients and I heard the manager say, “Jack, I just
cannot get the employees to use their protective equipment
and the machine guards. Nothing that I do can convince
them to use them!” Sound familiar? Well let’s take a
closer look at these words. You are the manager, you have
the responsibility to operate the business, follow all laws
and regulations and then also make a profit. Now you are
going to have an employee tell you that they are not going
to do something. Do you think there is a problem here? I
do! One of the major factors that I use when supporting a
case is, “Management either enforced, or if representing
the other side, did not enforce the safety policy and training.”
Think of how many times that you told an employee
to do something and they did not do it, how did you
enforce your own program?
The number one cause of on-the-job related injuries is
management not enforcing their own policies and employees
being allowed to bypass the safety procedures. Many
times, some management officials even reward the
employee for not following safety by thanking them when
they get the job done a little faster and by circumventing
safety switches, or cutting corners.
Let’s take a closer look at the leading cause of accidents
in your facility.
Physical overload is the number two cause of accidents.
Lifting too much (or improperly), straining, overreaching,
bending, twisting and otherwise making our bodies bend
or twist in ways that they are not designed to maneuver. To
avoid physical overload, learn and use proper lifting techniques,
never bend or twist while lifting or carrying, and
whenever possible, use mechanical help. Question? Do you
know of anyone who lifts safely all of the time? Well here is
the answer, toddlers—watch a toddler lift something and
they always bend at the knees.
The third leading cause of injuries on the job is impact
injuries. Being hit or striking an object. The best way to
avoid impact accidents, is to be alert to potential hazards
(for example never walk under a loaded forklift or crane).
Use personal protective equipment necessary for the hazards
you face and have all of your employees follow the
safety procedures that your company has developed.
The fourth cause of on-the-job injures are falls. Fall
injuries are as common in the home as they are in the
workplace. So fall protection is everyone’s business. To avoid
injuries from falls, be sure that your footing is firm, wear slip
resistant footwear and avoid hurrying. Make sure that walkways
are well lighted and clear of obstacles and always use
the handrails when climbing or descending stairways.
The fifth cause of injuries on the job is machinery accidents.
Employees getting caught by moving machine parts.
When working around any machine that rotates, slides, or
presses, use extreme caution. Always use safety-guards,
shields, and follow appropriate lockout, tagout and tryout
procedures. Employees should never wear loose clothing
and jewelry while operating machinery.
Be Safe, Not Sorry. The nature of accidents is that
they can happen anywhere, any time, and to anybody. Do
not tolerate the excuse that your employees cannot do
something or utilize a piece of safety equipment. When the
employee gets hurt, they hurt the company, their family
and the community. Most importantly they impact your
Please feel free to contact me anytime through the magazine
should you have a safety, health or environmental
question. This magazine is your source for information.
Need a program developed or reviewed? Have an OSHA
issue clarified? Visit my website at www.podojilconsulting.
com. Need specific training? Visit Convenience
Learning International’s website at www.clearning.com and
they will let you take a free preview of any of their on-line
safety courses. This magazine is your one stop shop for
For more information, click on the Author Biography at the top of this page.