When all the guards are in place, and there is a safe procedure for every job we do, why are people still injured?
It’s because we are all human.
Traditionally, we have tried to eliminate accidents by identifying dangers and engineering our way around them. We put guards on machines so the operator’s fingers cannot get caught on the moving parts. We put non-slip surfacing on steps. This is the physical approach to safety.
The systems approach is to create safe ways of doing things. If we need to work inside guards, we’d expect to have isolation procedures and a permit-to-work system. If we are working with chemicals, the system of work would include wearing goggles, for example.
These days, most organisations do the physical and systems parts of safety well and injury rates have fallen. But not to zero and here’s why.
- Sometimes people decide not to put on their hard hats in a hard hat area
- Sometimes they cut corners just to get the job done
- Sometimes they get frustrated because the right equipment is not available or the person who has been properly trained is wanted at the other side of the factory.
There are a whole range of things people do every day that increase the risk of injuries. This is why some organisations which think of themselves as safe still see accidents happening. Even though physical and systems approaches to safety are working well, people are behaving unsafely.
- People don’t understand the risks they are taking
- The don’t appreciate the effect of an accident on themselves, their families and their colleagues
- They feel pressure to do things quickly rather than correctly.
- They don’t know that the cost of having an accident will far outweigh gains they make by cutting corners
- Some think accidents can only happen to other people
- They may be distracted, tired or in a hurry and lose concentration
- Some think that because they didn’t have an accident yesterday and the day before, they won’t have one today
So training is a key part of developing behavioural safety and that’s where Lattitude can help.
But you need more than training. People are far more likely to behave safely if the work in a safety culture.
Take the next step… learn more about safety cultures.