Workplace Accident Prevention: Don’t Let a Lack of Common Sense Hurt Company Safety
One of the biggest obstacles a company safety strategy can face is the employee, and their occasional lack of common sense. While one would like to think that company safety policies are fine tuned toward common sense thinking, the fact of the matter is employees occasionally try to cut corners and/or implement actions or ideas of their own that they think are for the greater good.
These employees, while well intentioned, think they are using common sense. However, what they are actually doing is going against their company’s workplace accident prevention efforts and are in turn putting themselves as well as other employees in harmful situations.
The reason this is allowed to happen is because management very often makes the assumption that their employees know the proper safety procedures because; “common sense says it is the right thing to do.” The only problem with this statement is that we’re not all born with common sense—rather we acquire it throughout life either from our own experience or from others’ experiences. And not everyone’s life experiences are the same.
Experts say at least 80% of industrial accidents are caused by unsafe acts on the part of employees—and not by unsafe conditions.
The following are 5 unsafe acts employees are prone to doing that if not kept in check could cause your company serious harm:
- Rush-jobs — Sometimes there is more concern for completing a job quickly instead of safely. An employee who is in a hurry may think they are doing the company a favor, but rushing through something can have serious short and long-term consequences. Take time to do a good job—and a safe job. You don’t always have to exceed expectations, especially if it compromises workplace safety.
- Taking Chances — Daring behavior or blatant disregard for safe work practices can put your entire team at risk. Employees often take chances by cutting corners. While occasionally effective, the juice is not always worth the squeeze—especially if something goes wrong. Be sure to follow all company safety policies and watch out for your fellow employees.
- Daydreaming — Being pre-occupied—whether it is though daydreaming, drifting off, thinking about the weekend or simply not paying attention, can get you or someone you work with seriously hurt or even killed. This applies no matter if you’re on the manufacturing line or driving a company car. Be sure to always focus on the work you are paid to do—you’ll have plenty of time to daydream when you’re punched out. If you just simply can’t concentrate, ask for a break—taking a few minutes away from the workplace is nothing compared to the long-term break you’ll be forced to take when you get injured.
- Pessimism — Being negative, whether you’re angry or just in a bad mood, can lead to severe accidents because anger nearly always rules over caution. There should be no explanation needed why flying off the handle at work is potentially dangerous. Try and keep your bad moods in check, or more than one person may be hurt. If you can’t stay cool and remain in charge of your emotions, perhaps you need a break or should take a day off.
- Ignorance — An employee who ignores safety hazards is the most dangerous person in your company. But employees who deliberately ignore safety hazards are one thing. Employees who unknowingly fail to recognize safety hazards are another. New and unexpected hazards develop when work conditions at a job site constantly change. Always be alert for changes in the environment. Hidden hazards include things like spilled liquids; out-of-place objects; unmarked floor openings; low overhead pipes; and other workers who don't see you enter their hazardous work area.
The key to workplace accident prevention is threefold:
- Awareness of your environment
- Concern for your fellow worker
Although employers are required by law to provide a safe and healthful workplace, true workplace safety can only be achieved when an employee is empowered to be aware of their work environment and follow company safety policies.
At NARFA, we strongly believe that the basic tenets of workplace safety revolve around staying alert, not rushing, maintaining a positive attitude and keeping your mind on work. That’s why we’ve developed a variety of resources dedicated to workplace safety.
Contact us to learn more about what other benefits administration services we offer, or to hear more about the culture of company safety that we cultivate as part of our AICC worker’s compensation coverage program. And don’t forget to stay connected with our Health & Wellness Safety Tips—we’re always adding more tips to help you and your employees create workplace safety.