Little Things Safety Talk
When planning work tasks for the day and addressing hazards, it is easy to get caught up on the big hazards. We focus on risks such as falls from heights, electrocution, and chemical asphyxiation during a confined space entry when they are present. While these hazards need to be taken seriously and be properly mitigated, the bigger hazards can be responsible for taking almost all of the attention from the “little things.”
When we say “the little things,” we are referring to hazards such as a cord on the ground, a screw sticking out of a board, a slippery rung on the bottom of the ladder, or a hammer hanging off the top of a cabinet. These little issues can still pose a great risk of injury to the employees working around them if they are not recognized and corrected. The problem is, we get used to seeing some of these little things around the worksite, especially if there are bigger hazards at hand.
At some point, though, one of these smaller hazards may end up causing the next recordable injury on your worksite. It is much more likely for a company to experience multiple trip incidents over a year’s time that lead to injuries before they even have one fall from a height greater than six feet. For example, according to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, statistics show that 66% of falls happen on the same level resulting from slips and trips. The remaining 34% of falls occur from heights. An even smaller percentage of falls from that 34% occurs over six feet of height. Do you think more emphasis is placed on protecting 100 employees walking across a factory floor or one employee working at a height of over six feet?
The “little things” are the big things. While the big hazards need to be properly mitigated, we need to not lose focus on the small hazards. There is a much greater chance of a small hazard causing an injury or incident before a larger hazard causes a serious injury or a fatality.
-Can you think of anything we may be considering a small hazard or a hazard we are walking past at this workplace?
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