In a small city on the Atlantic Ocean, the aftermath of hurricane Dorian changed the streetscape. Toppled trees blocked the roads, and their root systems pulled up sidewalk pavers. Houses and buildings were damaged. You may have seen news footage of a construction crane that blew down in the wind and twisted around the building it was helping to construct.
Conducting thorough investigations and revisiting what went wrong with your crew can help save lives. What shape would you and your infrastructure be in after such an event? Are plans in place to respond efficiently and safely to minimize risk and manage hazards?
Remember, We Learn from Workplace Incidents
Have you ever suffered an accident at work that changed everything? Maybe a piece of equipment was damaged, which messed up the schedule by a week. Maybe someone lost a finger, which messed up the rest of their life. How did you react? How did your crew react? After the shock of the incident and the discussions about safety, did everything go back to how it was? If the accident was minor, likely, it was soon forgotten. But forgetting about an accident, whether large or small, is a big mistake.
Identify Hazards and Prevent Future Accidents with Thorough Investigations
Set aside time to review all accidents and injuries this year. Look for patterns. Review the company’s safety policies that should have prevented each accident and determine what went wrong. Don’t dismiss the thorough investigation of an accident simply because nobody was severely hurt.
Plan a Response and Manage Potential Hazards
A month after hurricane Dorian, the blue heron has moved on, but that crane that collapsed and wrapped itself around the building? It’s still there. Since the block the building sits on has been evacuated, shopkeepers can’t get to work, lawyers can’t access briefs, bartenders can’t sell beer, and regular folks can’t go home to their apartments. Meanwhile, engineers and insurance adjusters still haven’t figured out what to do about the crane and how to dismantle it safely.
What can you do today that will help prevent small and large accidents? We can’t change the weather, so avoiding that tower crane collapse was probably impossible. But we can change bad habits, poor work practices, and hazardous situations to prevent accidents.