Safety in the workplace does not have to be complicated. Investing in newer equipment—such as fully-encased crash boxes that provide full fall protection—and providing regular safety training ensure a safer working environment and reduce the risk of fall-related injuries. Slips, trips, and falls (STFs) are also costly and can result in lost productivity, increased insurance premiums, and the need to train replacement workers.
Creating a safer workplace can sometimes be as simple as a periodic review of safety procedures, proper maintenance of safety equipment, and regular employee training. Often times, employees’ roles change, and newer employees may not be trained in the proper handling or placement of equipment. For example, a worker new to a position may line a truck up a few inches off from where it needs to be, creating a dangerous safety hazard.
The necessity for conducting regular safety reviews and remediating hazards was made intensely clear by an incident at a facility that is part of one of the world's largest companies. The company, while very safety conscious, had a near-fatal incident involving Carbis equipment that had been in service for many years. A worker fell from the top of a tank truck, headfirst towards the ground, but fortunately only sustained non-life-threatening injuries.
The Importance of Recognizing, and Addressing, Safety Hazards
The Carbis team was on site immediately, and an examination quickly revealed that the equipment had not been maintained in accordance with the instructions provided at the time of delivery. Over the years, as personnel changed, newer employees were not instructed on how to correctly operate and maintain the equipment.
To address the safety concern, the company wanted to purchase new equipment. While this was certainly an option, Carbis’ safety consultant knew the equipment was in good working order. The issue was that the equipment had not been properly maintained, and current staff had not been trained on how to recognize or address safety hazards.
The Carbis consultant explained how to properly maintain operation of the gangway, and made a simple adjustment using a couple of borrowed wrenches. Within a matter of minutes, the adjustments had been completed and the specific issue resolved.
The conversation then moved on to gaps identified by our consultant around the fall protection equipment/truck hatch. If employees had been properly trained, they would have been able to identify the gaps as hazards and brought them to the attention of management to be resolved as they arose.
In addition, it was discovered that trucks were not spotted properly in relation to the platform and safety equipment. A quick, easy solution was implemented—maintenance employees painted an outline of where trucks should stop so they would be correctly positioned—eliminating the hazardous gaps. Following implementation of Carbis’ safety recommendations, workers expressed that they felt safer and requested that they be provided with hazard awareness training.
In OSHA’s new standards, effective January 2017, they cited that most injuries in the workplace result from a lack of initial and ongoing training and oversight of the processes. Carbis’s dedication to creating safer work environments starts with an overall safety assessment to determine what, if any, hazards may exist. This simple assessment may mean the difference between a workplace where dangerous conditions can lead to a life-threatening incident, or a workplace made safer with:
- Up-to-date safety procedures
- Properly maintained equipment
- Regular worker training