Toolbox Talk: Hazard Recognition

It should go without saying that workers do not intentionally injure themselves. Unfortunately, many workers are seriously injured each year and many people still believe that accidents “just happen.” But accidents do not just happen!

What Goes Wrong?

Usually, an error that is within the control of one or more people is at the bottom of things. Often, several errors take place, at the same time, for an accident to occur. So when we analyze accidents, we should focus on which aspects of a task were controlled and which were not. Assuming that workers have been properly trained and all the proper materials and tools were available, what else can go wrong? A lot! Accidents are most frequently due to haste and poor planning.

Don’t Take Safety Shortcuts

When workers get out on the job with a supervisor monitoring their output, they are expected to achieve production goals. If they feel their job is on the line, they may take pay less attention to safety than to production, in order to look better in the eyes of the boss. This often means poor choices are made that put them and co-workers at risk. Many accidents happen in just this manner. And these incidents have a negative impact on production, because dealing with them requires valuable time and money.

Plan Ahead!

It is an employee’s responsibility to work safely, and that means taking time to review what is to be done and what could go wrong. All employees should make it a habit to check out the site and assure the work can be done without mishaps. It helps to remember the Five Ps:

Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance!

Identify Hazards!

The following questions should be asked, to help predict what could go wrong and how risks might be controlled:

  • Is the site and the job the same as depicted on the prints?

  • Are the necessary materials available to perform the work?

  • Does everyone have the proper tools to perform the tasks at hand?

  • Are there enough workers to handle the job? Have they all had safety training?

  • Are environmental conditions such as light, noise and weather a factor?

  • Are there too many people in the area to work safely?

  • Have other subs on the job been notified about hazardous tasks or materials?

Don’t wait for accidents to occur! Think and plan ahead!

Anticipate, Evaluate, and Control Hazards!

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