Offensive Safety Measures
Like many companies, we at Lug-All like to tout the safety features of our Wire Rope and Web Strap Come Along Ratchet Winch Hoists. Our winch hoists are designed to improve safety for our users, and in industries like utility work, safe tools and equipment are crucial to worker safety.
In spite of the abundance of safety equipment and the continuous developments in safety technology, thousands of workers in all industries are still injured every year. So why, with so much emphasis put on safe tools and equipment, do injuries still occur?
One theory is that the comprehensive level of safety equipment used every day makes us less likely to address safety concerns caused by our own behavior. The theory holds that, as we rely more and more on equipment designs to keep us safe, we rely less on ourselves to be safe. These safety steps can be considered “defensive” safety measures.
These defensive safety measures are intended to protect workers when something happens that puts a worker at risk of injury or death. However, the fact that so many injuries still occur demonstrates that safety equipment is not perfect. To further protect against serious and fatal injuries, “offensive” safety measures are required.
So-called offensive safety measures refer to worker actions taken to correct common mistakes or misjudgments that lead to accidents or injuries. These mistakes tend to result from certain limitations that make it impossible for us to act perfectly in every situation.
One of those limitations is our power of observation. Even the most attentive worker in the most ideal circumstances is bound to miss potential hazards. The risk becomes greater on busy worksites or in bad weather. Another limitation is our tendency to work on “autopilot.” Especially when we are performing a routine task, we can often zone out while we work, which can put us at risk if anything out of the ordinary happens.
Both of these limitations usually provide some benefit as well. If a worker tried to focus on everything all at once all of the time, no work would ever get completed. Additionally, relying on muscle memory for routine and repetitive tasks can allow people to complete work more efficiently. The limitations become dangerous when they cause workers to miss or overlook potential hazards, especially in a new or changing environment.
The solutions to hazards caused by human action can be difficult to nail down. It is often easier to identify safety improvements for tools and equipment, which is one reason they are often the focus when it comes to improving safety. However, training for safer actions can also help address safety concerns.
In the same way that practice helps athletes improve their performance, effective work training can help workers improve work-related actions. And like athletic practice, it’s important to perform tasks correctly to develop the proper skills. For information on how to develop safety training programs that focus on workers’ actions, reach out to a workplace safety professional.