Addressing a repeat safety offender
Date Posted: 12/07/2020
Most workers go through their entire careers without suffering a serious job-related injury. That’s the good news. The bad news is that many workers still get injured, and a few tend to suffer injuries repeatedly, sometimes because they repeatedly ignore safety rules.
So, what can be done about the repeat safety offender?
Find the root causes
The first step in stopping a worker from repeatedly becoming injured or having accidents is determining the underlying cause. A few typical (and likely) reasons might be:
- Behavior – The problem could be as simple as the worker using bad safety behavior, such as rushing to get the job done. A worker who regularly takes shortcuts, or who puts speed ahead of safety, is likely to get injured more frequently.
- Reporting – Is the worker the only one being repeatedly injured, or just the only worker that is consistently reporting injuries? This needs to be investigated. If there is a widespread problem with under-reporting injuries or near-misses, then additional training may be needed.
- Physical problems – Does the worker have a physical problem that could cause him to overstress himself to meet production demands? Is the worker compensating for a physical problem by working with poor posture or other means that could lead to injury?
- Training – Has the worker been trained? Have you verified that he understood the training? Is the supervisor enforcing the training?
- Supervision – Supervisors are often the pacesetters for their workers. If the supervisor has a history of injuries or disregard for safety or places a huge emphasis on production, this may be part of the worker’s problem.
- Performance – Is the worker having problems in other areas besides safety? Is his quality suffering, also? Attendance? If it’s more than just safety, you may get other areas of the company involved, like HR, in helping to remedy the situation.
- Exaggerating – Some workers have been known to “fake” or exaggerate injuries to get workers’ compensation. While this possibility should be considered, be wary of assuming that a repeat offender is committing fraud. If evidence of fraud gets uncovered, however, then appropriate action can be taken.
Find a solution
Naturally, the way you address a repeat issue will vary depending on the root cause(s). In many cases, retraining will be a part of your approach. This training shouldn’t be the same training you initially gave, however. If the prior training did not work for the repeat safety offenders, they may need training that is geared toward them. In particular, they need to be shown what specifically they are doing that is unsafe and causing injury.
Finally, you may also need to train workers on your discipline policy if safety rules are not being followed, and ensure that policy is carried out when appropriate.
How Safety Management Suite Can Help
If a workplace injury is recordable, it must be listed on your OSHA 300 Log. However, in order to spot trends, you may want to track non-recordable injuries as well. The J. J. Keller® SAFETY MANAGEMENT SUITE Incident Center helps you by allowing entry of recordable and non-recordable cases. This can help you identify and address safety issues by tracking trends in your safety program.
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