A high frequency of accidents or accident repeaters is systemic of a larger problem. They are most often linked to a deviation from safety rules, not following procedures, failure to wear the appropriate (PPE) personal protective equipment and/or failure to use the correct tools. In addition, this frequently reflects the employee’s immediate supervisor’s allowance of such behaviors to occur.
There is no such thing as an accident prone person. By breaking an accident down into either an unsafe action or unsafe condition, the true nature of the underlying cause of the accident is identified.
A couple of the most cost effective tools available to employers for reducing accidents and claims costs are Accident Review Meetings and an Accident Repeater Program.
The Accident Review process is simple to administer. On a monthly basis, a committee of upper management, middle management and workers meet for approximately one hour to review specific employee injuries. The committee should include HR, operations and facilities to address any issues that may fall into their area of responsibilities. During each meeting, three or four employees who have been injured on the job appear before the committee, along with their supervisor.
The “Accident Review” committee's purpose is threefold:
- express management's support for safety;
- hear the cause of the accident and injury from the employee and his/her supervisor; and
- identify and authorize corrective action that can be taken to prevent similar injuries from happening again.
The objective of the “Accident Repeater Program” is to:
- identify unsafe practices and deficiencies,
- not to promote discipline.
Where an area of opportunity is identified, corrective measures should be implemented to reduce costs associated with on the job accidents and ensure a safe working environment. During your investigations, a situation in which disciplinary action would be prudent may be uncovered. However, although this program may prove useful in the administration of disciplinary action where necessary, it is not the program objective.