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Learn from Accidents, Expert Urges

Original article from safetydailyadvisor.blr.com

An accident or injury is an unwelcome event at any workplace. But organizations that take strategic steps can use information about the incident to prevent similar events in the future.

Hernani Veloso Neto of the University of Porto, Portugal, published research on the subject of accident prevention strategies in the March issue of the International Journal of Human Factors and Ergonomics. He identified three obstacles that stand in the way of treating workplace accidents as a source of what he calls “useable knowledge.”

·         The first challenge is fundamental structural barriers. These are related to organizational issues, such as whether news about accidents is disseminated beyond those immediately affected by the incident.

·         The second obstacle is “inter-individual” barriers, for example, communications between line managers and staff.

·         The third challenge are barriers caused by the behaviors and response of those directly involved in the accident.

The key to overcoming these challenges and unlocking the door to improved accident prevention, says Veloso Neto, is a knowledge system that focuses on internal and external case studies and encourages the Safety Reporting of accidents, causes, and outcomes across the entire organization.

“To learn from accident experiences, organizations must create mechanisms to foster knowledge from the onset and to elicit changes based on that information,” Veloso Neto concludes. He says if such resources are not exploited, barriers will remain in place and accidents will be repeated.

Knowledge: The Key to Preventing Accidents

Why is knowledge about accident prevention so important? Here are 12 good reasons—all from OSHA fatal workplace injury Safety Reports:

·         A grocery store worker died from injuries after tripping and falling from loose flooring.

·         An employee died when a storage tank he was cutting exploded.

·         A worker died after vehicle crashed during icy road conditions.

·         A cable service worker died after falling from a ladder.

·         An employee died while working in a confined space at a crude oil refinery.

·         An employee crushed and killed by conveyor belt rollers undergoing maintenance.

·         A worker killed after being caught in saw machine at cabinetry facility.

·         A worker died after falling 30 feet while unloading tools from forklift.

·         A worker was struck in head and killed by piece of metal while operating lathe.

·         An employee killed by falling equipment during unloading operations

·         A worker was killed when nail from a nail gun struck him in the eye.

·         An employee died from head injuries after falling off scaffolding.

If these employees had proper knowledge, their accident could have been avoided and the fatality prevented. Multiply these incidents by thousands upon thousands of nonfatal accidents, and you see why training and increased knowledge about safety is so vital in the workplace.