PREVENTING WORKPLACE ACCIDENTS
There is a popular proverb: “Better a thousand times careful than once dead”.
According to the National Safety Council (NSC), globally, a worker is injured in the workplace in every 7 seconds. And these numbers are staggering always. The workplace can be dangerous, even more so in an industrial environment. There are several factors responsible for accidents. Most of the cases accidents happen due to overexertion or mishandling of hazardous materials. There are also a lot of variables that can influence a workplace incident.
Let’s see the most common causes of accidents in the workplace:
CHIEF CAUSES OF INDUSTRIAL ACCIDENTS:
Improper handling of hazardous materials and ignoring personal protective equipment (PPE) is another common cause of the accident at workplaces. Organizations should emphasize on circulation as well as reading of material safety data sheets and provide the appropriate protective attire, by which many workplace incidents can be avoided.
Insufficient lighting is responsible for numerous accidents each year. This is often overlooked when attempting to prevent accidents in the warehouse or workplace.
Non-stop or continue working without taking a break is a chief cause of the accident at workplaces. To recover from tiring manual labor, it is very much essential that employees should be given adequate breaks. Otherwise, it can lead to physical issues, including atrophy and general exhaustion.
Dehydration has also the potentiality of bringing about disastrous consequences. Particularly on hot summer days, failing to drink adequate amounts of water can invite heat stroke or cardiac conditions. It can be avoided if we will drink at least eight glasses of water per day. Dehydration can negatively affect the efforts of personnel. Hence, management should stress the importance of proper hydration and adequate rest.
Many employees get hurt while lifting or moving heavier objects and machinery. It can lead to sprains, strains or tearing of muscles. Employees should be prohibited from lifting an object that is too heavy for them to lift on their own. There is no harm in asking for help with objects that are difficult to lift.
Violence among co-workers has become a common issue in many organizations usually due to office politics or other sensitive issues. Implementing conflict resolution and peer mediation can help in reducing the risks of such outbursts.
Stumble and Collapse:
Slippery floors and congested corridors can cause stumble and collapse. Not using industry-grade footwear may also contribute to these accidents, which can result in severe injuries and loss of life too.
Workplace Stress is one of the leading causes of industrial accidents. It affects the human body from every angle. Stress can inflict negative effects physically, emotionally and mentally, as well as exhaust or distract any worker. Therefore, it is essential to establish and encourage a supportive team environment.
IDENTIFICATION AND PREVENTION OF ACCIDENTS/ HAZARDS:
The Process of Foresight or Identification of Potential Threats or Hazards:
Accident results from a malfunction or breakdown in the safety system. Employee actions, work procedures, faulty equipment, and unsuitable working environments, etc. are always involved. Continuous monitoring and evaluation of these elements can identify improper work practices and conditions that can produce accidents.
The Process of Hindsight or Investigation of Accidents:
All accidents are caused and could have been prevented if they were identified earlier and necessary steps are taken. It is necessary to find out or investigate the root cause of accidents. So that no such type of incidence happens in the future.
- What, When, How, Where, and Why did the accident occur?
- Which procedures were being followed?
- What were the conditions when the accident occurred?
- What could have done to prevent that type of incidences?
These questions are to be asked and answered. Supervisors and employees should work together in identifying causes and remedial actions. Checklists should be examined to find out whether the work followed standardized prescriptions or not. All possible factors must be put forth and analyzed carefully.
Prevention of Workplace Hazards and Control:
Effective controls can protect workers/employees from various workplace hazards like Injuries, Illnesses, Stress, and Accidents, etc. Effective controls help in minimizing or eliminating safety and health risks; and providing a safe and healthful working condition. Let’s discuss certain processes that help employers prevent and control workplace hazards and accidents.
- Evaluate the existing controls system to determine their reliability and effectiveness. Implement new technologies whenever found necessary to ensure more protection.
- Develop a blueprint of plans with a proper hierarchy to control hazards according to their nature and impact.
- Give proper and adequate training related to the operation and maintenance of various machinery and equipment.
- Vigilant about wearing proper safety gear and uniforms.
- Don’t rush and take shortcuts.
- Conducting emergency drills to educate employees to do’s and don’ts in the event of actual emergencies.
- Maintain cleanliness and post proper signage at important places which can be easily noticed, etc.
AUTHOR: SRIBATSA PATTANAYAK, PURI, ODISHA, INDIA
EMAIL: [email protected]