How to deal with a repeat safety offender

By: Ray Chishti

Publication: Construction Regulatory Alert

Date Posted: 11/30/2020

Repeat Safety Offender Tips

Many, if not most, workers go through their entire careers without suffering a job-related injury. That’s good news. The bad news is that there are still too many workers who suffer injuries and a select few who suffer injuries repeatedly. But, what can be done?

Find a root cause for repeat safety offenders

The first step in stopping a worker from repeatedly becoming injured or having accidents is determining the common cause(s). These are a few typical reasons:

  • Behavior — The problem could be as simple as the worker using bad safety behavior, such as rushing to get the job done. Research human error traps that could be contributing to incidents. Explore what human performance tools could be used.
  • Reporting — Is the worker the only one being repeatedly injured or the only worker that is often reporting injuries? This needs to be investigated. If there is a jobsite-wide problem with underreporting, retraining is needed.
  • Physical problems — Does the worker have a physical problem that could cause him to overstress himself to meet production demands? Is the worker compensating for a physical problem by working with poor posture or other means that could lead to injury?
  • Training — Has the worker been trained? Have you verified that he understood the training?
  • Supervision — Supervisors are often the pacesetters for their workers. If the supervisor has a history of injuries or disregard for safety or places a huge emphasis on production, this may be part of the worker’s problem.
  • Performance — Is the worker having problems in other areas besides safety? Is his quality suffering, also? Attendance? If it’s more than just safety, you may get other areas of the company involved.

Find a solutionfor repeat safety offenders

Naturally, what you do to address the repeat issue will vary depending on what you determine to be the root cause(s). In almost any case, retraining will be a part of your approach. This training shouldn’t be the same training you initially gave, either. Prior training did not work for this particular worker. Instead, repeat safety offenders need training that is geared toward them. They need to be shown what they specifically are doing unsafely.

You also need to train workers on your jobsite’s discipline policy if safety rules are not being followed. And, you need to ensure that policy is carried out when appropriate.

About the author
Ray Chishti - EH&S Editor

Ray is an editor at  J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc. and has over 12 years of EH&S experience in a variety of industries, including EPC projects, fossil fuel power plants, gas distribution and transmission, and electrical transmission work.

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