10 Ways to Involve Workers in Accident Prevention
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in one recent year there were 5,488 fatal occupational injuries and 1,158,900 injuries involving days away from work. Add to that all the accidents that resulted in minor injuries, and you have somewhere in the vicinity of 4 million plus recorded workplace accidents.
Thorough analysis and understanding of potential hazards and accident causes is, of course, key to preventing workplace accidents. You and the management team certainly need to take the lead in this effort. But you can’t do it alone. Without the involvement and cooperation of your employees, you’ll never really succeed in preventing workplace accidents.
10 Ways to Stimulate Employee Involvement
There are at least 10 simple steps you can take to get employees involved in preventing workplace accidents.
- Ownership – Give workers responsibility for such actions as planning and conducting inspections, analyzing their own data on work hazards, and developing safety checklists.
- Leadership -Set an example by taking the same precautions, and wearing the same PPE, as you expect your workers to do. Be on the lookout for potential hazards and point them out to your workers.
- Understanding – Explain the “why” of safety so that employees will realize that hazards put their own personal health and safety at risk.
- Commitment – Strive to get commitment from every employee that safety is a number one priority.
- Goals – Set clear, firm standards for workplace behavior-and enforce them.
- Competence – Train employees so that they will have the information and develop the skills that enable them to work safely and avoid accidents.
- Feedback – Praise employees who identify and correct hazards or report problems they can’t fix.
- Teamwork – Use every opportunity to encourage workers to play an active role in workplace safety and accident prevention.
- Responsiveness – Make sure you respond promptly to identify hazards and take immediate steps to correct them.
- Persistence – Remember, and have your workers remember, that accident prevention is an ongoing challenge that must be focused on every day-always improving, setting new safety objectives, and making steady progress toward achieving them.
Encourage Participation in Investigations, Too
Even though the primary responsibility for accident investigations falls on your shoulders, employees, nevertheless, play an important role. Encourage them to:
- Report all accidents, regardless of whether anyone was injured or how minor the injuries were.
- Report all near misses. A near miss that is ignored could be an accident next time.
- Help preserve the scene of an accident so that clues to the cause can be found. Explain that moving or disturbing anything at an accident scene could destroy valuable information that could explain why and how the accident happened.
- Remember what they saw, heard, or experienced if they witnessed an accident or were involved in one. Encourage employees to write down all the facts as soon after the accident as possible.
- Cooperate in an accident investigation in any way they can. Even employees who are not involved in an accident or who did not witness it can help. For example, they might have special knowledge of a situation or procedure that could be helpful to the investigation.
Also, make sure your employees clearly understand that the purpose of an investigation is not to find someone to blame for an accident. Some employees may fear blame or getting someone else in trouble and, therefore, be reluctant to cooperate. Reassure them to encourage their full cooperation.