A Recipe for a Workplace Accident
I still believe my mom has the best recipe for banana bread. She, of course, inherited it from her mother and slightly modified it over the years to make it better. “The secret…” she told me when I was young, “…is to add one extra over-ripe banana for a more moist and flavorful bread.” She was right.
As safety professionals we sometimes have to take a different approach at looking at things in order to see the forest from the trees. We are most often focused purely on prevention, control, hazard recognition, corrective action, etc. Let’s look at things from a different angle and examine the recipe for creating or making an accident happen. What would it look like?
Ingredients for making an accident:
2 cups of management indifference: Management needs to visibly practice safety—if it matters to management it matters to everyone.
1 cup of workforce exclusion: The workforce needs to be involved in identifying problems and developing solutions. This creates greater understanding, morale and ownership of outcomes.
2 teaspoons of no training: Task training and continuing education are important to ensure basic hazard recognition and to demonstrate the employer is investing in the most important asset—the employee.
1 tablespoon of undefined performance metrics: What gets measured and recognized gets done.
A dash of no accountability: The delivery of fair and consistent accountability must apply to everyone, including management.
A pinch of communication barrier: Expectations, successes and failures need to be clearly and regularly communicated.
If you use these ingredients you’ll have a perfectly formed injury and work-comp claim in no time at all. Enjoy in slow painful bites. If the recipe produces too much, don’t worry, it can easily be enjoyed for some time in the form of lower morale and higher insurance premiums. Yum!