“No one should have to sacrifice their life for their livelihood, because a nation built on the dignity of work must provide safe working conditions for its people.” – US Secretary of Labor, Thomas E. Perez.
The list of accidents on the job is as long as it is horrifying. According to OSHA, 4,585 workers died on the job in 2013, and the number is growing.
Consider this statistic: 80 out of every 100 accidents are the fault of the person involved in the incident. Unsafe Acts cause four times as many accidents and injuries as unsafe conditions do.
Hank Tribolet has 35 years of experience as a compliance trainer and consultant for the general industry and construction, and he says the blame, mostly, rests on the workers’ shoulders.
Hank says that often the employers don’t enforce their own programs.
He says companies don’t take the time needed to train their people – they assume because someone has been doing construction for 30 years, he knows what he is doing. But every piece of machinery is different. He says that a lot of companies don’t adhere to OSHA standards, and the first person to go when there are cutbacks, is the safety official – who doesn’t make them any money.
Output and the bottom line are the driving factors for the majority of the companies Hank has worked with. In fact, one company told him they were not going to be concerned with safety “until they hurt somebody”.
Any item of PPE imposes a barrier between the wearer/user and the working environment. This can create additional strains on the wearer; impair their ability to carry out their work and create significant levels of discomfort. Any of these can discourage wearers from using PPE correctly, therefore placing them at risk of injury, ill-health or, under extreme circumstances, death. However, when used correctly, it can save a worker’s life.
Hank says safety awareness and training comes from top-to-bottom, from the CEO down to the worker in the machine shop or at the construction site. If management is not enforcing and 100% behind safety – giving the workers the time and money to do it right, it’s not going to work.
But in the end, with the best effort in the world, “no amount of training will work if the employee doesn’t do what he’s supposed to do.”