Fault Finding and Safety at Your Facility

Everyone who gets up in the morning to go to work fully expects that they will return home at the end of the day. Doesn’t always happen! And whose fault is that?

Most of us drove to work today. How many of us did a simple walk around pre-operational check of the vehicle before we started driving? How many of us checked that the tires were properly inflated? That both headlights and taillights were operational? That the defroster and windshield wipers were working? How many of us even looked at the car before we jumped in and started driving? Not many!

So let’s say we’re driving down the road and an improperly inflated tire breaks a bead and the tire fails catastrophically. Our car swerves into an oncoming lane hitting another car; both cars are pushed into the median and roll-over. Someone is killed. Whose fault is it? Was it the tire manufacturer’s fault because they did not design a tire that could operate safety when under-inflated? Maybe it was the fault of the mechanic who did not notice and did not properly inflate the tire the last time we had the car in for service. Or maybe it was the oncoming driver’s fault for not anticipating that our disabled car would swerve into their lane. It could not possibly have been our fault for not doing something as basic as a pre-operational check!

When we arrived at work, did we do a pre-operational check of our machine before we turned it on? Were all the guards in place? Is the area well lighted? Any trip hazards around the machine? Is there anything in the vicinity that could cause us problems? Are we fit, focused, and familiar with the level of safety required to do the job? If there is a potential problem, are we going to say anything to anyone?

There are few things in our lives that are guaranteed. Someone once said that the only certainties in life are death and taxes. But I can guarantee you that if someone is seriously injured or killed in your workplace there will be finger-pointing, there will be misplaced blame, attempts to absolve guilt, and there will be litigation. It is simply human nature. It is simply the nature of our litigious society. Whoever’s at fault, it will be mostly the fault of the person or entity with the deepest pockets!

Regardless of your level of responsibility, the mere accusation of negligence can make your life more nightmarish than even Hollywood can portray.

Stop unsafe work practices in your facility. Do it now!

Charlie Howes is a semi-retired safety consultant, licensed private investigator, and technical writer with over 20 years of experience in the welding & thermal spray industries. Contact him at www.charleshowes.com or Twitter: @cphowes.

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