Good Morning Team,
Happy first day of Fall! And here is some more happy news! While I don’t have official confirmation from HR on this, I am under the impression that our overall reportable accident rate is down from previous years. I know that it is in my own department for sure. That is good news not only from a company perspective in lowered Worker’s Compensation Insurance rates, but more importantly in the reduction to any employee’s possible pain and suffering. That’s not to say that we don’t still have the occasional minor injury that occurs and I’d like to focus a little on how to avoid the small things and make sure that we understand why we need to report those if they do happen.
Back in the day, I used to think that no job that I did was really complete unless I drew a little blood while doing it. Along with the sweat produced, it just felt a little normal to get a nick or two while working hard on completing a project, almost a sort of lubrication seemingly due the work itself. I now realize that I had the wrong attitudes back then and concentrate much more on working smarter and am more thoughtful in avoiding that blood loss. (Can’t do much about the sweat though!) What I have found is that taking a single moment to contemplate my next move will usually help me avoid the circumstance altogether.
For instance, I was recently doing some routine maintenance on my car and needed to remove a bolt. As I situated the wrench onto the nut, right away I knew that I was going to have to push it away from me. I took a quick look and realized that if the wrench slipped off that nut, and they always seem to at least once, I would smack my knuckles into the frame of the vehicle. Even while wearing gloves, as I was, this would expose me to the possibility of injury and since I couldn’t position the wrench to pull it toward me – the preferred method of wrench use by the way – I went to the toolbox and grabbed a suitably sized socket set and almost certainly saved my knuckles the possibility of injury.
The bottom line is that we often overlook those small moments in time where doing just one thing a better way might make the difference. I believe that if we all practice looking ahead at our next moves, we will be able to pinpoint more possibilities in avoiding injury, large and small. What has to follow hand-in-hand with that though is action. Don’t allow yourself to consider an injury is possible and then do nothing to avoid it. Whether this means getting a different tool, positioning yourself differently or simply getting someone to assist, then make it so.
A while back, I had a coworker suffer a minor scrape on his finger that was actually caused by him removing his oily gloves for a better grip on the work he was doing. During the investigation phase of this event, he admitted that the thought crossed his mind that getting another pair of gloves would be best, but instead he went ahead and continued working. Though the resulting abrasion was minor, it didn’t have to happen at all and it took a awhile to heal due to where it occurred on his finger. He was constantly rubbing the scab off from putting his hand into his pocket. Let’s make sure that the appropriate first aid is always applied. The injury will dictate the need, but in general, washing the wound carefully with soap and water, covering open wounds with dressings or bandages and keeping it clean and dry are needed.
Also, remember that our company policy requires that all accidents resulting in injury, whether minor or not, must be reported immediately. The definition of an accident includes, but is not limited to, damage to structure, finishes, personal property, company owned tools/equipment and materials purchased, as well as “Near Misses.” A near miss is an injury that didn’t happen, yet the potential was there. It is very important that we take the opportunity granted us by those instances to study what got us into that potential, and make a positive change.
Keep up the good work in safety and preventing accidents and injury. Here’s hoping that any accidents we do have are only minor in scope, but let’s try to avoid even those by always thinking clearly about what we are doing through-out the workday.
Have great week and stay safe.
Director of Facilities Services