A little contradiction here because we all love a short cut and we all have habits. However, I’m not talking about picking our nose or using the rat run to avoid sitting in traffic allowing us to get home 5 minutes quicker than the Sat Nav originally told us. No, I’m talking about the risks we take to speed things up, to cut costs, to make things easier and in the majority of times just because we are being lazy!
Two scenarios recently, firstly I was involved in an accident investigation where in, my opinion, short cuts and habits have combined and over time resulted in an injury. A load was allowed to be unloaded whilst suspended in order to save time in removing work benches. As this had not resulted in an accident the first or the countless times after that, it soon became the norm (so our short cut has now become a habit). On this final occasion, the slingers position did not allow full view of the load and possibly lowered too far and onto the work benches which were unable to take the load, I believe that as a result one of the legs collapsed, offloading the load onto an operatives leg, resulting in a broken leg and a short stay in A&E.
Second: Merseyside branch of IOSH are currently carrying out a Mock Trial where a painter and decorator fell from an unsecured mobile tower (no toe boards or handrails), this has been set up to show the pitfalls in taking short cuts with safety equipment.
I can personally relate to this as it’s almost a daily issue on sites, operatives using all types of incomplete access equipment. Allowing this to continue results in this short cut to get the job done into a habit and as a result 1 day resulting in a fall from height.
So don’t get me wrong short cuts are a good thing but not when you are doing it with safety. Take that extra 5 minutes to protect yourself, tell the manager if you have an issue.
Go home safe and don’t become a statistic.