In the headlong hurry to meet deadlines and quotas, we frequently forget that only part of our responsibility is to operate the machine we call business. The other part is to ensure that the machine stays operational. If safety hazards arise, then the machine is broken and lives are threatened.
1. It could happen to you. The next time you see a safety hazard, take action. Don't depend on someone else to notice and to notify the appropriate person. Just think of the next time you're in a hurry and not noticing things. You could be the one to slip on that puddle or touch a broken electrical switch.
2. Hazards are an indication of a breakdown in management. Yes, the buck really does stop with management. If they do not instill their employees with the proper motivation to keep the workplace safe, then people will become blind to the need to prevent such hazards from forming in the first place. For example, if management is all about quotas and nothing about the welfare of their employees, then wellbeing takes a vacation. Blame management? Absolutely not! Employees are just as responsible. If they don't complain to management, then management never gets fixed. That's called teamwork and it goes both ways.
3. Injuries and deaths in the workplace continue to happen. One website reports that in America every year, 3,600 injuries result in an employee becoming disabled and another 4,000 more minor injuries occur, all from electrical contact. It also reports that one employee, on average, dies every day from electrical safety hazards. Each of these could have been prevented if OSHA regulations had been followed.
4. Reporting a hazard should be easy and hassle-free. Anyone spotting a problem should know where to report the problem. If this is not known, then this is a failure of management, especially in HR. No one should ever be threatened or belittled for reporting a safety hazard. To do so threatens everyone.
The good news is that safety training is available online—not only corporate training for general safety concerns, but also fire safety training and electrical safety training. The wonderful thing about online training courses is that they can be taken at your own pace and at your own schedule.
One major drawback is motivation. The stress of deadlines and quotas rarely make it easy for employees to follow through on such training, even when it is made a requirement. Perhaps the next step is to make completing such e-learning a condition of employment. And in order to make that work, perhaps time management training should be next on the agenda.
Image Credit: City of Albany, Oregon on Flickr