Unsafe Actions – The Deadly Dozen # 5

Today’s deadly dozen unsafe actions is…

5. Using defective tools or equipment.

One of my hobbies, one I haven’t done in a couple years now, used to be rock climbing. Contrary to what a lot of people think, rock climbing, if done properly, is extremely safe. One of the basic rules of rock climbing is that any metallic piece of equipment that takes a fall of over 4 feet onto a hard surface, is retired immediately. Why? Because a visual inspection is not enough. The carabiner might look perfectly fine but that impact on that rock might have causes a hairline crack in the metal that your eyes couldn’t be able to pick up. When you take a fall, however, that carabiner might be all that’s keeping you from falling to your death. I’d rather throw away a carabiner that looks new than find out that it isn’t when my life depends on it.

The same principle should apply to all the tools and equipment used in the workplace. You don’t want that screwdriver to splinter and pierce your hand just because you thought that the crack in the handle didn’t look serious enough to throw the tool out. Defective tools and equipment should immediately be repaired (and I don’t mean with duct tape, sorry Mr. Red Green!) or thrown out.

The Fix

The fix, as we have already mentioned, is simple. Repair the defective tool properly or replace them if they can’t be properly repaired. A regular quality inspection should also be implemented to identify defective tools and equipment before it becomes a problem.

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