When things on the job are going along smoothly and mishaps/accidents are not occurring, we can become too relaxed about safety.

The job of safety is a never-ending one and must be emphasized by everyone at all times. Safety is similar to quality—it must be constantly pursued. Supervisors, foreman and employees in general should be constantly alert for unsafe acts by coworkers. Activities such as running, horseplay, jumping off of docks, piers, equipment or any elevation can and do result in serious injuries.

Shortcuts in acceptable work procedures cause injuries and damage to equipment. This includes inappropriate use of tools, such as using a screwdriver for a prying tool, failure to wear personal protective equipment for a short job, and removing an equipment guard “for just a moment”.

If we forget to reemphasize these fundamental safety precautions, there will be accidents.

We can learn valuable safety lessons and prevent recurring accidents by discussing past accidents. We cannot sit around and wait for every type of accident to occur before we take steps to stop them. Be proactive—take action before the accident by correcting unsafe acts and conditions.

A good safety program is based on preventing future accidents, not reactively discussing them. To be ahead and stay ahead, safety must be addressed every day. Training of employees, inspection of equipment, job pre-planning and discussions of new hazards is an ongoing task. If you relax the emphasis on safety, you will be reactively discussing what COULD have been done to prevent the incident.