We all want to avoid injuries at work, which is why you have a safety program. However, despite the proactive work to avoid an injury, when one does occur, it is a valuable time to learn from it to prevent future accidents. You can accomplish this by doing an accident analysis on the injury.
The first step is to collect data. Do you have a first report of injury form for your employees or their managers to fill out? A FROI is what insurance carriers look at when investigating a claim. It should provide basic details of the injury such as employee information, how it happened, when it happened, and where it happened. The more descriptive, the better.
Next, you should identify the causes. There are three possible root causes to a worker’s comp injury. Equipment, Personnel, and Environment.
1) Was the equipment working properly? Often times, equipment malfunctions be the only cause. Be sure to have a checklist for all equipment to ensure it is working.
2) Was the employee trained well and taking the right precautions? Have your new employees complete a safety examination before you send them out on their own.
3) Was your employee operating in safe conditions? During your safety meetings, discuss what king of conditions your employees should NOT be working in. We don’t like accidents, and we definitely don’t like accidents that are so easily preventable.
After you’ve identified the causes, analyze the information. Many times, it will be a combination of things that went wrong. Take a look at what created the situation, and inform your employees what to do if it reoccurs. Talk to witnesses to find out what could have been done better from the employees side as well as managements side.
Once you have figured out why the accident occurred, build and implement a plan that will prevent it from happening in the future. It is tough to say when equipment will break down, but it is not difficult to have your employees be ready for when it does. If something is stuck in the chipper, be sure that your employees know to talk to their team leader before doing anything. One way to emphasize proper safety techniques is to test your employees on their own. Build up “what would you do” situations and observe how they’re handled. It is easy for employees to say they understand safety procedures. Having them practice will put you miles ahead of your competitor.