Safety tip of the week

Sep 25, 2019
Written by Rick Means, Director of Safety & Education

What were you thinking?

After a co-worker takes an unnecessary safety risk, have you ever thought: “Why did they do that?”

When workers take a risk, it is because it made sense at the moment.

But why would an employee remove a safety guard while the machine was still running?  Why would a person overexert themselves when lifting a large object instead of getting help?  Why are people texting while walking or driving when their focus should be on the ever-changing surroundings?

To the worker it was likely just wanting to finish the task at hand even if a new distraction or hazard pops up.  To discourage these unnecessary risks:

  • Ask questions – find out what motivates workers and where strongest sources of resistance are.  Help them be more aware of what influences their decision-making.
  • Tell stories – make the risk feel closer to home by telling specific stories from actual co-workers about how taking risks endangered them.
  • Educate – explain that it is human nature to continue the task and take a risk rather than stop to make the situation safer.  But the emphasis should be on safety first.

This is another reason why safety meetings are important. There are some good videos in RASI SAFETY TV and our Retro members will find additional information in the Safety Library that can help you on this topic.

WR Safety Specialist Rick Means is available to members to help draw up safety plans and suggest topics for safety meetings. Contact him at 360-943-9198 x18, or [email protected]