But progress is possible. Let me ask a few questions that
may suggest a potential solution:
LADDER OR CHAIR? Consider this example: You need to change a bulb in an of;ce light ;xture. The proper procedure would be to go to the closet/warehouse to get a ladder tall enough for you to easily perform the task. But why do that when you have a perfectly good chair right here in the of;ce? How convenient! You make a mental note that using a swivel chair on wheels is not a safe choice. However, time is money, it will take just a minute, and besides you don’t know anyone who has ever been injured standing on a swivel chair. So off you go—up on the chair—and you change the bulb. Question: Did you do a good job with hazard recognition? Answer: Yes! Congratulations! You did an excellent job. You recognized that a swivel chair with wheels is a bad choice for the job and that it could lead to a fall and potential injury (maybe even death).
your team have the skill and experience to recognize
the things that could cause harm?
beginning work, do you at least take notice while the
work is being performed?
I believe that most professionals recognize the hazards.
The problems arise when we don’t use that information to
adjust our behavior.
The Rub: Despite your excellent recognition of the
hazard, you used the chair anyway!
This may seem like a silly example, but you could change
the details to ;t any number of common fact situations. The
conclusion is inescapable. We regularly recognize potential
hazards but often don’t do anything about them.
The fact is, accidents are rehearsed many times.
You must create
an environment that
encourages workers to
act upon—rather than
Assuming that all workers are properly
trained and have the correct materials and tools to complete
the job, the workplace environment is key. You must create
an environment that encourages workers to act upon—
rather than ignore—the hazards they recognize.
That may be easier said than
done, but it’s not impossible.
Second Quarter 2012 | PEI JOURNAL | 6 9