Accident Attention: Analyze and Investigate!

Make your employees “accident aware” by informing them of what the organization is doing to prevent accidents. And let them know that they are a part of all of these accident prevention processes. Their input will be solicited and valued as the organization makes its decisions to create and maintain a safe workplace. For example, the organization analyzes operations and work areas in the following ways:

  • Doing a hazard analysis for each job
  • Reviewing use of hazardous chemicals
  • Studying the layout of workstations
  • Analyzing worker duties for ergonomic risks
  • Doing a safety check of all equipment
  • Inspecting the facility for layout hazards
  • Reviewing the worker training program
  • Always enforcing safety rules
  • Making any changes indicated to reduce hazards

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Tell workers not to miss the message of a near miss! Near misses are accidents waiting to happen. The only difference between a near miss and an accident is a fraction of an inch or a second in time. Train workers to:

  • Report all near misses right away. Most accidents are preceded by multiple near misses.
  • Report near misses to you so you can track the patterns, pinpoint the problem, and take corrective action.
  • If possible, remove the hazard immediately. Do your part to protect your co-workers from injury. But don’t forget to report the hazard even if you removed it. And don’t remove certain hazards if you’re not qualified or trained to do so.
  • Report damaged equipment or property.
  • Don’t wait for a near miss or accident to happen. Stay alert for anything that could cause an accident. Injuries can often be traced back to equipment or property damage that was never reported and repaired.
    • Report damaged equipment, such as
    • Fractured hand tools,
    • Power tools that give a slight shock,
    • Machine guards that don’t fit or work properly,
    • Forklifts with damaged parking brakes,
    • Ladders with broken rungs,
    • Worn PPE, and
    • Other similar problems.
  • Stay alert for property damage, such as
  • Crumbling stairs,
  • Loose handrails,
  • Loose plates in the floor,
  • Holes in the floor,
  • Loose hinges on doors,
  • Broken sidewalks, and
  • Other damage to the facility.

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As your workers cooperate with analysis programs, stay alert for hazards, and follow reporting instructions, they will be able to avoid most accidents in the workplace. If a rare accident does occur, encourage workers to report it immediately and cooperate with investigators so you can find out what caused it and prevent repeat accidents.

Why It Matters

  • In one recent year, nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses in private industry occurred at a rate of 3.9 cases per 100 equivalent full-time workers.
  • That amounts to 3.7 million injuries and illnesses.
  • Nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses among state and local public sector workers combined occurred at a rate of 6.3 cases per 100 full-time workers.
  • Many of these injuries and illnesses occurred because of accidents.

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