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Accident Prevention: More Important than Accident Protection

workplace accident preventionWhen one considers workplace accidents and workplace safety, they might agree that with the proper education and practices a good majority of injury incidents could be prevented. While there are surely a fair share of freak accidents, there's also a fair share that occur due to conditions such as sloppiness, carelessness, lack of safety education, lack of training and poorly maintained or faulty equipment.
When you work the same job day after day, it's easy to become comfortable with your equipment and surroundings - sometimes too comfortable. In an effort to simplify things, meet deadlines, save money and sometimes simply because the risk just doesn't seem that serious, millions of American workers suffer serious injuries each year on the job. From slip & falls to burns, puncture wounds, concussions and broken bones, there's never any shortage of preventable incidents.
If one actually took a minute to think about the risk involved, they might severely lower the chances of harming themselves or others. For example, aside from the standard risk that applies while performing a job or task by employing the proper safety protocols, there should be no additional risk. If you have to ask yourself "Is this going to be safe? Do I think this will work? Will this probably be okay? Is it safe enough to finish up this last little part?" then you're probably creating a risk for yourself that you shouldn't take. Gambling with safety in the workplace is definitely no game - especially considering you could be gambling with the safety of others who are now involuntarily exposed to the safety risks of your decision. Are you willing to make that decision for them? Are you willing to put their life or well-being on the line without their consent? Generally speaking, if you're taking shortcuts in safety then that's exactly what you're doing.
It seems too often that people are relying on protection instead of prevention. How many times have you seem someone throw on a hard hat and immediately place themselves in a position or situation of high-risk because they're not properly educated on safety? How many times have you seen someone get hurt in their first month on the job, even though the were wearing the proper personal protective equipment? How many times have you seen a co-worker repeatedly yet unintentionally place themselves at severe risk of injury simply because they weren't fully aware of the potential dangers? We're pretty confident that at you've seen at least one of these situations before.
While we won't deny that unfortunate circumstances can arise seemingly out of nowhere, we refuse to believe in a safety policy that's based solely on protection. Of course those steel-toed boots will help protect your toes from an impressive amount of bone-crushing force, but they won't help prevent you from losing a whole leg. And while that high visibility safety vest will provide added protection during low-visibility or in high traffic areas, it won't prevent you from dying on the scene should you be hit by a vehicle traveling at 60+ MPH or being ran over by an excavator.
Safety is important. Protection is also important. But without the proper education and training in workplace accident prevention, the risk is never really diminished.
Before diving headfirst into an empty swimming pool, wouldn't you check the depth of the pool first? Wait, an EMPTY pool? You shouldn't dive into an empty pool regardless of the depth, right? Right. So apply that idea to something in the workplace - let's say a frayed piece of cable. Wouldn't you test the strength of the frayed cable to ensure it's safe before using it to lift a massive piece of material? You might, but if you're even considering using the frayed cable to lift something, you're taking a serious gamble. Please, don't do it.
Ask yourself, are you really aware of all the risks that exist in and around your workplace? Do you know how to minimize those risks? Do you have a plan of action should a freak accident occur? How about your co-workers? How about visitors? How about your employer? If you answered no, it's time to change things.
For more information on accident prevention in the workplace, visit the OSHA Injury & Illness Prevention page today. Make a plan today. Don't wait until it's too late, and more importantly, don't rely on protection!

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