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If you’re looking to make 2020 a year of zero drops on your worksite, you need to make it a part of your employees’ daily working habits.
At GRIPPS, we’re committed to helping companies across the world minimise and ultimately eliminate the risk of injury relating to dropped tools and equipment, so we’ve brought together a few actionable suggestions for any safety supervisor looking for a smarter way to protect their workers.
To get your team acting the right way, you need to get them thinking the right way. Safety education is something that has to be continually readdressed and reinforced at every job site. Many safety supervisors make the mistake of only considering education when best practices evolve and new members join the team, but this can lead to slipping standards among long-standing members of your company.
There are a number of ways to ensure that your team is fully across current safety procedures, helping you make falling object prevention something everyone’s aware of.
The core of any education program is regularly rescheduled formal retraining. Delivered either by internal experts or with the assistance of external professionals, refresher programs can help to make employees aware of gaps in their knowledge, ensuring that best practices are always adhered to.
The frequency of these trainings will differ based on your organisation size, industry and your employees’ levels of expertise, but many industries suggest annual or semi-annual refresher courses for workers in dangerous environments.
Don’t just tell people what to do, acknowledge them when they do it. Employee recognition is a powerful tool for driving engagement. Safety training can often feel divorced from an employee’s day to day experiences, with some seeing it as arbitrary and purely theoretical.
Providing real material rewards when a team or an employee shows that they’ve understood the how’s and the why’s of falling object prevention training can help create some healthy competition between workers around who can be the safest. How you measure it is completely up to you – days without a dropped tool, ensuring all equipment is properly secured at all checks, etc – and should reflect your short-term safety goals.
If you’re going to memorise something, do it regularly. To that end, strategically installing awareness and instructional posters around worksites can ensure that as an employee enters a potentially dangerous situation, the relevant information is always available.
Especially if you’ve recently shifted your business to tool tethering, these kinds of in-the-moment reminders can prompt employees to check for and potentially rectify errors in equipment attachment before they could become dangerous.
Once your employees know that they have to practice falling object prevention, the next step is ensuring that they’re practising it correctly.
Tool tethering is a new addition to many business’ existing safety standards, so adjusting to it may take time. With the modern workman needing so many different kinds of tools, and each worksite offering its own unique challenges and risks, it’s understandable that mistakes in affixing tools will be made.
That said, the risk of injury or death from falling objects is ever-present when people are working at heights, so as your team adjusts support them by conducting daily equipment inspections. Especially in the early days, these don’t have to be confrontational pass/fail assessments. Make each inspection an educational opportunity, showing employees where they’ve made an error in tethering their tools.
These inspections can be scaled up or down depending on the risk level across your site. For example, maybe you insist on every employee being inspected before working at heights in the first month, before scaling it back to daily spot inspections as workers develop familiarity with the system.
If you want to make your workplace as safe as it can be, the onus can’t be put solely on individual workers. Though each employee does have a responsibility to ensure that their tools are always properly tethered, there are things you as the employer can do to make this process easier for them.
Set your staff up for success by insisting on a smarter approach to inventory management. After implementing tool tethers, take the time to ensure that all equipment that requires it has them pre-affixed. While laborious, it leaves minimal work for the employee who checks it out, ensuring that new falling object prevention guidelines have the best chance of being adhered to.
What’s more, it shows employees that the organisation is sharing the responsibility of implementing the guidelines with them, sending the message that workplace health and safety is a collaborative effort. This can go a long way towards creating crucial good will as you implement these policies.