“Also, they may simply have been blinded to do something quick and easy for safety – and thus doing nothing for it.” – Gerald Wilde
The description of the incident was hard to sit through. The worker had eventually died, but he’d lingered in the hospital for a week fighting for his life.
The assigned safety investigator had rigorously applied several models when determining root cause. They’d looked at the hierarchy of controls and determined which controls would best be applied to prevent the hazard. It was an in-depth investigation and a job well-done.
Then it fell apart.
The engineering control couldn’t be applied due to a tight budget. The substitution control wasn’t right in this culture. The elimination control didn’t work due to the production schedule. The work rotation control wasn’t feasible as the union would fight it. And no one would really wear that PPE, right?
So, like any efficient safety investigator, they filtered the long list of hazard controls down to the one control most likely to be accepted by management.
They recommended retraining. Well, it began as retraining. The shift supervisor would later water it down to a good reminder about “paying more attention to your surroundings.”
A fellow worker died and we chose to remind everyone to be more careful. But we did something, right? Wasn’t that the point?