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Safety Matters: Identifying and Preventing Future Accidents

Most of us have been personally involved in a minor auto accident. In an attempt to protect ourselves, we might become defensive, or be tempted not to reveal all the facts.

Our car insurance agents advise us not to admit blame, to avoid accusing anyone, and to hold a rational discussion of the circumstances with all parties involved.

Let’s carry some of these principles over into accidents that happen in the workplace. The primary purpose of investigating an accident is to gather accurate information to prevent a similar accident from occurring in the future. 

The Accident Investigation

The aim of the investigation should be fact-finding not fault-finding. Unless you’re new as a workplace employee, you’ve heard it said many times that every accident comes from an unsafe condition, an unsafe act—or some combination of the two. In the post-accident study, we must identify which hazardous condition, improper act or other contributing factors were causes.

With the help of our safety engineer and, if necessary, top management, we’ll make necessary changes to ensure better safety in the future. The accident is in the past, and our immediate concern should become the accidents we can prevent in the days and years ahead.

Don’t think that minor accidents do not deserve investigation. Even a slight injury, or perhaps just property damage, requires a careful and complete review so that the same type of accident does not cause more harm in the future.

Accidents are Preventable

Have you been guilty of saying that a certain number of accidents are bound to happen in our workplace? If you have, you’ve been in error. If we are able to identify the causes of all accidents and make changes to prevent them, we will likely see the number of accidents in the workplace steadily decrease.

Measuring Our Performance

Accident reports serve another purpose besides future accident prevention. They are grouped together to form nationwide, statewide, plant and department statistics. These statistics tell us whether we are winning or losing the battle for safety.

Think safety, live safety and inspect for safety. Help us reach a plant or department record we can boast about. And while we’re doing it, remember that it’s not your responsibility to place blame on anyone.

This safety matters flyer is for general informational purposes only, and is not intended as medical or legal advice. © 2007-2010, 2014, 2019 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved


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