Learning From Past Incidents

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Learning From Past Incidents Safety Talk

A lesson can be learned from almost anything that occurs to us in our lives. Workplace incidents that result in near misses, property loss, or injuries are no different. Many companies spend a lot of time, money, and effort to collect information regarding these types of incidents in order to find the root cause and try to prevent a similar event from occurring again.

Learning from Incidents Outside Your Normal Scope of Work

Many safety shares or incident investigations that are put out by a company to be reviewed at the field level may not deal directly with what work is occurring for a certain number of employees. That being said, no matter what hazard caused the injury or what the injury was that resulted, lessons can be learned from that incident and applied elsewhere. It is important to not put so much focus into the actual work task that caused the injury or what the injury was, but instead, put more attention towards what applicable lessons can be applied to the work that you do.

Lessons learned from workplace accidentsReal-World Example

An incident investigation is put out that discusses an injury that resulted from a dropped object incident that occurred inside of a power plant during maintenance operations. The work that is completed by your work group is excavating fill material and hauling it to another area in the landfill area outside of the plant. While these two work tasks are completely different, there are many takeaways that can be applied from the injury to the dirt work being completed.

One takeaway could be reinforcing the importance of never putting yourself in the line of fire from objects above. In the example of dirt work, operators of trucks should never get out of their cab while being loaded. Another best practice that could be mentioned is the excavator operators should never load over the cab of a truck to prevent falling debris from striking the cab or windshield.

The above example is overly simplified and brief. That being said, most investigation findings and recommendations to prevent a similar event from occurring hold a lot of valuable information that can be applied in many different ways to almost any job task being performed on a worksite. Never take any incident at face value. Lessons can always be learned from each one.


Lessons learned or safety shares that are communicated throughout a company or put out by OSHA take a lot of time to produce. Time should be taken at the field level to discuss the incident as well as takeaways that are applicable to the work that is being completed that day. Think outside the box when discussing safety shares at work.

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