Avoiding ‘bloody pocket syndrome’

by on August 9, 2011 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: Workplace Safety Network

Industries have a phrase for when workers refuse to report injuries and accidents: “bloody pocket syndrome.”

Workers hide cuts and get treatment after work, and thus escape discipline. In other words, they’re bleeding in their pockets.

When workers fail to report incidents, you don’t have good information about near-misses. You won’t know if people need more training, or if their jobs need to be redesigned.

And worst of all, you won’t have an honest safety culture.

Achieving a balance
To get the right balance between discipline and understanding, consider the following steps:

  • Be cool during the response: Get them first aid immediately. The first message an injured worker should receive is concern about their medical condition.Supervisors who set the right tone after injuries will send a powerful message to other workers. After treatment, the supervisor can return to your company’s safety message, including reviewing the safety process with them.
  • During the investigation, avoid general phrases: Reports that include phrases like, “wasn’t paying attention” aren’t helpful.Supervisors should focus on a specific safety procedure violated, not vague judgments like “carelessness.”
  • When disciplining, avoid overreacting to minor injuries. People are already hurt; some problems have built-in punishments. Someone who gets a cut and needs band-aid may not need a lecture, too – unless they do.
  • Distinguish between honest mistakes and willful flouting of procedures. Honest mistakes are learning opportunities, but those who willfully ignore procedures require discipline.

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