In practice, accident prevention boils down to two basic activities: (1) reducing unsafe conditions and (2) reducing unsafe acts. In most large facilities, the chief safety officer has responsibility of these activities. The chief safety officer often has the title Environmental Health and Safety Officer. Virtually all these people 98% have responsibility for safety. According to one survey, 78.2% also have responsibility for occupational health, 69.3% or industrial hygiene, 60% for fire protection, 56.8% for environmental issues, and 52.2% for workersâ€™ compensation.
Reducing unsafe conditions:
Reducing unsafe conditions is always an employerâ€™s first line of defense. Safety engineers should design jobs so as to remove or reduce physical hazards. In addition, supervisors and managers pay a role in reducing unsafe conditions.
Employers increasingly use computerized tools to deign safer equipment. For example, Design safe (from Design safe Engineering, Ann Arbor, Michigan) facilitates hazard analysis, risk assessment, and the identification of safety control options. Design safe designer identify the taskâ€™s main processes and sub-processes, and the worker behaviors associated with them. It then helps the designer with them. It then helps the designer choose then most appropriate safety control device for keeping the worker safe, from a list of devices such as adjustable enclosure, presence sensing devices, and personal protective equipment.
Sometimes the solution for eliminating an unsafe condition is obvious, and sometimes itâ€™s more subtle. For example, slips and falls at work are often the result of debris or a slippery floor. Relatively obvious remedies for problems like these include slip-reducing floor coating floor mats, better lighting, and a system to quickly block off spills. But perhaps less obviously, special safety gear can also reduce the problems associated with otherwise unsafe conditions. For example, slip-resistant footwear with grooved soles can reduce slips and falls. Cut-resistant gloves reduce the hazards of working with sharp objects.
Getting employees to wear personal protective equipment can be a famously difficult chore. Including the employees in planning the program, reinforcing appropriate behaviors, and addressing comfort issues can smooth the way for more widespread use of protective equipment. Wear ability is important. In addition to providing reliable barrier protection and durability, protective clothing should fit properly be easy to care for, maintain, and repair; be flexible and lightweight; provide comfort and reduce heat stress; have rugged construction; be relatively easy to put on and take off, and be easy to clean dispose of, and recycle.
Again, reducing unsafe conditions â€“ by designing the job properly and having managers watch for hazards â€“ should always be the first choice. Then comes administration controls such as job rotation to reduce long term exposure to the hazard. Only then should you turn to personal protective equipment.
Reducing unsafe actsâ€”through screening, training, or incentive programs, for example is the second basic way to reduce accidents. Letâ€™s look how to do this.
Reducing Unsafe Acts by Emphasizing safety:
As mentioned above, it is the supervisorâ€™s responsibility to set the tone so subordinates want to work safely. This involves more than talking up a safety, ensuring that workers wipe up spills, or enforcing safety rule, although such things are important It is also necessary to show by both word and deed that safety is crucial. For example, supervisors should:
Praise employees when they choose safe behaviors.
Listen when employees offer safety suggestions, concerns, or complaints;
Be a good example, for instance, by following every safety rule and procedure;
Visit plant areas regularly;
Maintain open safety communications â€“ for instance, by telling employees as much as possible about safety activities such as testing alarms and changing safety equipment or procedures:
Link Managersâ€™ bonuses to safety improvements.
Creating the right safety climate isnâ€™t just academic. One study assessed safety climate in terms such as â€œmy supervisor says a good word whenever he sees the job done according to the safety rule. The study found that (1) employees did develop consistent perception concerning supervisory safety practice, and (2) these safety climate perception predicted safety records in the months following the survey.
Reducing Unsafe Acts through Training:
Safety training is another way to reduce unsafe acts, especially for new employees. You should instruct them in safe practices and procedures, warn them of potential hazards, and work on developing a safety-conscious attitude.