Are workers spotting hazards?

by on June 16, 2015 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: Workplace Safety Network
switch with wiring

A workplace fatality investigation will no doubt focus on how and why a vent opened that allowed hydrogen sulfide gas to spray a worker. The worker at a Douglasville, GA, refinery was sprayed by the gas, and then likely lost his footing backing away. He fell 20 feet off a platform, and died later at a hospital. He was a 46-year-old father of two.

The worker was coming to the aid of a co-worker who was suffering a heart attack. That second worker survived. During the attempt to help the co-worker, the vent opened, setting in motion the gas release and fatal fall.

This case exemplifies the difficulty of finding a root cause of an accident. Unusual events and situations where multiple people each contribute a little bit to an accident often leave safety managers scratching their heads. That’s why the accident will have to focus on the vent. Should the vent have been able to open suddenly like that, with workers nearby? Did the workers bump a switch accidentally, and if so, why wasn’t there protection against something like that happening?

The only way to prevent tragedies like this one is to spot and correct risks during day-to-day operations. Workers who are on the lookout for potential risks, such as places where a worker might bump up against a switch, will help protect themselves and their co-workers.

Take home: Are your workers regularly reporting and fixing hazards?

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