Over the years we have seen and investigated many workplace accidents where it’s clear that the persons involved in the accident did not set out to get hurt. However the fact that it’s people that cause accidents also cannot be denied.
So why do we see so many accidents in workplaces?
- Fatalities in 2010/11 – 171
- Serious accidents in 2010/11 – 26,000 reported under RIDDOR
- Over 3 day reportable in 2010/11 – estimated at over 200,000
We believe it generally comes down to a lack of risk awareness within the workforce (including management) which leads to people doing stupid things. We have recently seen a situation where a worker had bypassed an ineffective guard and stuck his hand into a moving fan that he had believed he had isolated from the power source. Unfortunately he had made an incorrect judgement about the isolation in his haste to get the job done and the result was broken bones, a painful injury, and a lost time accident for his company.
So why would you do something like this? Mostly it appears to us it’s because people just want to get the job done and don`t take the time to properly consider the risks. Add to the equation that people think bad things won`t happen to them and it’s not surprising that people get hurt.
Naturally, the condition of the workplace and work equipment will have a part to play and we have seen some very dangerous workplaces over the years. In 2011 we undertook a DSEAR survey for a company in the South West and felt the poor maintenance of the workplace was a serious cause for concern. Clearly the senior management’s attitude to risk was poor and this translated into a lack of risk appreciation through the workforce. Therefore, the result is that a serious workplace accident is just waiting to happen.
Why do businesses wait around for the next accident to occur when a simple answer would be to deliver training focused to the risks of their business? We find that training tailored to the business and delivered by highly experienced trainers is the step that will change employee attitude to risk and improve the control of risks going forwards.