A recent incident on a Saskatchewan oil rig has highlighted the importance of a safety-aware workforce as a preventative safety measure.
An oil rig worker in Stoughton, Saskatchewan has been fined $2,030 after causing an incident that seriously injured a co-worker. The worker in question pleaded guilty to violating Occupational Health & Safety rules by operating a vehicle at a place of work, not having a clear view of where he was driving, and proceeding before he know it was safe.
This incident highlights that a front-line workers’ unsafe behavior can not only harm himself, but also their co-workers. A front-line worker may be more comfortable with taking risks on the job because they may have the mind-set of “Well if I mess up, it’ll just hurt me”. Unfortunately, as proven in Stoughton, this is not always the case.
Preventing Unsafe Behavior
Front-line workers should be trained to understand that every workplace decisions will affect them and their co-workers. With personalized coaching to develop Safety Self-Awareness the fined worker could have been made aware of his impulsive and distractible personality traits. He would have stopped and made sure that his eye-line and driveway were clear before proceeding. While hindsight is 20-20, such preventive safety training would have saved the company time and money, and the co-worker a trip to the hospital.
When coaching workers to improve their safety awareness, safety managers can use some of the following strategies:
- Warn a worker who is in a dangerous position. Sometimes inexperience can cause a worker to perform a task in a manner that could injury either a co-worker or themselves
- Gently remind workers that they are responsible for each others safety and encourage employees to hold each other accountable.
- Remind veteran workers that their younger co-workers can be influenced by their behavior. If they see a veteran worker acting impulsive, they may think that type of behavior is acceptable
When safety managers are able to successfully encourage workers to hold their colleagues accountable for safety, incident rates will no doubt drop and team culture will be strengthened. A stronger team culture ensures that all front-line workers can get home safe to their families after a day on the job.