It’s a new year and a good time to take a look at statistics. Did your organization have fewer accidents in 2013 than you had in 2012? If the answer is yes, congratulations, but now a tougher question to answer. What did you do to be safer? If you did nothing different, could it have been luck? As a safety professional it pains me to admit that sometimes luck does plays a part in fewer accidents.
If one of your drivers drove while distracted, that’s unsafe. But if in those 10 or 15 seconds he or she was lucky that nothing was in their path and that the road was straight, there is a chance that no accident resulted. But how many times do you want to roll the dice?
My point is just because the number of accidents went down does not necessarily mean you’re going in the right direction. Think about playing golf. We’ve all had that “Game of our life,” but the next time we go out, we find that it’s still the same old thing and we’re not really ready to turn pro. But if we work on our swing, proper choice of clubs and do the other things golf instructors are always talking about, that lower score becomes consistent. Working on the basics lowers the score. It also reduces accidents.
So don’t just depend on the number of accidents which could give you a false sense of security. Think about the basics, and now is a good time to do that. Do you have a written safety program which has the full backing of management? Has everyone been properly trained? Is there discipline for people who repeatedly disregard safety rules?
People should be trained in safety commensurate with their duties. They should understand the dangers they might face and what they need to do to be safe. They should be provided with well-maintained personal protective equipment as needed and adequately trained in its use. A safety committee needs to be developed to review policies and procedures as well as accidents to keep your safety program relevant and tailored to the specific needs of your organization.
Accidents can devastate your organization. They make a difference to your members, your equipment, and impact how you perform your vital mission. Start the new year with new safety initiatives so next year you can proudly look back at not only fewer accidents, but the fact that this is a result of basic work on your safety program, and not just luck.
Have a Happy and Safe