NEAR MISSES: THE WARNING SIGNAL

How many times have you shrugged off a near injury miss? Never gave it a second thought? Next time think twice. The difference between a near miss and an accident is a fraction of a second or an inch. And when it happens again, that difference may not be there.

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One study shows that for every 330 incidents of the same type, 300 produce no injuries, 29 produce minor injuries and once produces a major injury. The problem lies in the fact that we can never truly know which time a major injury will occur. Near misses are warnings and if we learn from these warnings and look for causes, we may be able to prevent injury or damage.

Imagine this scenario:

You are going up a walkway into a building. Your foot slips. Being agile and empty handed, you regain your balance with no harm done.

Another person comes along. He slips, but his reactions are a little slower than yours. To keep from falling, he jumps off the walkway. Again, no harm done.

Then comes a third person carrying a load. He has the same experience, but falls off the walkway with the load on top of him. He breaks his ankle.

Two warnings were ignored. Finally, someone was hurt. Now the loose cleat, sand, or mud on the walkway is discovered and the condition corrected. Whenever you see a near miss, ask “Why?”

Always take near misses seriously and when you can, take time to correct the condition and if not, report it to someone who can. And don’t let your inaction be the reason someone gets injured. Near misses are just as serious as injuries and should never be shrugged off.

SAFETY: NOT JUST FOR SITE

Safety procedures are only for the site because after all that where all the hazards are. You may think that since you work in an office that you don’t have to worry about being injured. However, offices can become dangerous because people don’t anticipate the potential hazards.

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Let’s review the situations that increase the exposure to injury and what steps we can take to prevent them:

  • Avoid walking and reading at the same time. If it is important enough to read, then stop and read it.
  • Always keep aisle ways clear. Never stack boxes or supplies in aisle ways or in front of
    egress paths. Never arrange offices with desks in front of exits.
  • Never use a chair in the place of a ladder or stool. Chairs are not reclining and can flip over.
  • Avoid placing extension cords on the floor. These are tripping hazards and can become fire
  • When you must carry files, don’t carry more than you are capable of. Use a cart or make more trips.

As always, while taking precautions in the office, the best safety practice is always to try to eliminate or isolate a hazard.

Safety isn’t just for the site… it’s for the office too.

SITE SIGN IN SHEETS… PAGING JOHN DOE!

Imagine a fire has started at your construction site. Most workers have made it to the muster point, safe and sound. But wait… where’s John? Wasn’t John on site today? No one can know for sure because John never signed in on site. Maybe John is away from site or worse, maybe John is trapped in the fire.  This emergency scenario highlights the importance of using the site sign in sheet.

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Signing in and out of site seems like an easy task, however if the system is not followed, your safety and those around you can be greatly affected.

Sign in sheets capture important information like total worker numbers on site, who’s currently on site and who’s gone for the day. This information is crucial in the event of an emergency, as it provides a roll call of who may need to be rescued.  False information like someone who is signed in but did not sign out posts a threat to the rescuers, who may risk their lives to save someone who is unaccounted for.

Lastly, a site sign in sheet helps to determine manpower requirements like upgraded site safety components. This may take the form of increased onsite facilities and site first aid requirements.

So remember to always sign in and sign out… your safety and the safety of others depends on it.