From the analysis of the causes of accidents at workplace, it is not difficult to visualize the various strategies which may be adopted to prevent accidents. The first set of measures in accident prevention obviously relates to situational factors.
The objective of Accident Prevention measures are to isolate the various situational factors which are likely to increase the possibility of accidents. Here, job analysis may become a handy tool because it can reveal very clearly the actual operations which have the potential of exposing a worker to accidents.
Many statutory provisions make it obligatory for the employers to provide adequate safety measures in their workplace.
1. Safety Training
Safety training is mainly concerned with teaching safety methods of work and focusing on the hazards of occupation. This can best be achieved during the training period of the employees, or in training institutions where such methods are taught. Safety training is sometimes necessary even for experienced employees when new equipment or machines are introduced.
2. Involving Employees in Safety
No safety strategy can be successful unless the employees willingly participate in it. Various measures have been adopted to achieve this end, but all of them will succeed only if the employees’ participation is guaranteed.
3. Safety Campaigns
To make workers safety conscious and bring home to them the need for safety, this is very essential in certain industries in which the accident hazards are very great. Safety campaigns mainly aim at generating and maintaining continuous safety consciousness. Often these are the responsibility of the safety committees and safety officers of the company.
In most safety campaigns, the emphasis is on developing an adequate warning system, particularly when there is some possibility of a hazard. Posters and slogans may be used in many situations.
NO SMOKING IN THIS AREA
USE HEAD COVERS WHILE USING THIS PASSAGE
USE SAFETY GOGGLES IN WELDING AREAS
SAFETY FIRST AND SPEED NEXT
Examples of this sort of slogans and posters can be multiplied. In transport industries, poster signs indicating speed limits, dangerous turns, etc., contribute substantially to road safety. Sometimes safety campaigns may use exhibitions, documentaries and other propaganda material to enlighten workers on matters of safety. Such occasional propaganda for stimulating employees interest in safety consciousness are of great value.
4. Safety Habits
Among the faulty habits that are often overlooked are
Working at break-neck speed;
Working in a clumsy manner;
Assuming postures that are detrimental to the smooth performance of operations;
Maintaining such postures for a long time;
Working without sufficient rest;
Working under the influence of drugs or alcohol; or
Performing operations unmindful of safety measures and devices.
In short, good working habits should include
Learning the right ways of performing industrial operations;
The habit of using various safety measures which have been prescribed for safety of employees;
Learning to keep an eye out for possible hazards in one’s working environment.
When such habits are ingrained in the workers at the time of their training, they become an inseparable part of their behaviour, and they observe the necessary safety precautions without warning. It is necessary, therefore, to place enough emphasis on safety training when new employees in the organisation are trained in their respective area of speciality.
5. Motivating Safety Behaviour
The safety motivation can be enhanced in other ways also. It is customary now to honour workers who have long standing accident-free records. Even departments and industrial organisations, which have ensured the occurrence of fewest possible accidents are sometimes honoured to create a sense of safety consciousness among them. The success of such a measure, depends upon an impartial system of recording accidents and rewarding the suitable workers or departments.
6. Foreman’s Training
Foreman plays an important role in maintaining safety because it is through him that penalties for not observing safety measures are awarded to the workers. They are vested with the authority of reporting such cases to the management. But such a practice often puts the foreman in a dilemma, as he has to choose between reporting unsafe behaviour and becoming unpopular among his colleagues with whose cooperation he functions. The key problem in such situations is how to administer punishment.
Experimental work has shown that when workers are punished for the non-observance of safety measures, there is invariably a repetition of such behaviour. But over and above this punishment rarely achieves. the desired goal of safety. They may spark off tension in the department, as a result of which production might fall because workers usually resent punishment of any sort.
7. Group Decision Approach
One of the best strategies which have been suggested for overcoming this general problem is the group decision approach. The entire group participates in prescribing the punishment for an erring worker. Such an approach makes the observance of safety rules a common goal. Besides, such discussions may also bring to light the real causes behind the erring workers’ behaviour which may have been overlooked by the foreman or his superiors. This approach, moreover saves off the possible intervention of trade unions in such matters because the responsibility of the decision no longer lies with the foreman or the management but with the entire body of workers.