Heading off safety shortcuts

by on December 13, 2011 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: Workplace Safety Network

You know some workers tend to take shortcuts – unless you make it clear that cutting corners is unacceptable.

How can you do that? Consider the following approach:

  1. Be aware of your own safety assumptions.This is especially true for workers you don’t know well yet, such as contractors and new employees. Example: You know your workers would never think of not using their personal protective equipment, but don’t assume others work as safely as your crew does.
  2. Know the most common shortcuts.In most jobs, there are well-known shortcuts. Two kinds to watch out for:

    (a) Well-known shortcuts that are written right into OSHA regs and industry standards. Example: Not climbing down to move a scaffold, but pulling it along a wall.

    (b) Tasks where a shortcut is a big temptation. Example: A worker who doesn’t walk around a conveyor to shut off a switch, but ducks under it.

  3. During your inspections, watch how workers handle tasks that have a potential shortcut.Once you know what to watch out for, you can time your inspections accordingly. You can’t be everywhere at once, but you can know when workers are likely to take a shortcut. Example: You know from work’s progress that your crew will need to move the scaffold in 30 minutes. That’s when you show up.
  4. Consider process changes.If the temptation is strong, workers will take shortcuts when you’re not around. Look for ways to eliminate the need for a shortcut.

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