Unsafe Actions – The Deadly Dozen # 8

8. Standing in an unsafe place or assuming an improper posture (as in lifting).

Our unsafe action for today is actually two different unsafe actions.

  1. Standing in an unsafe place
    All workplaces have “unsafe zones”. An unsafe zone is any spot or location where the probability of injury is higher than other areas. This could be high traffic areas, areas that are in the path of moving parts or equipment, loading and unloading areas, areas where certain chemicals or hazardous materials are present or any other area where injuries are more probable.

    The Fix:

    1. The first step is to identify these areas. This requires a thorough analysis of the work area. This analysis needs to be done with the full work day in view. Conditions change. Certain types of equipment, certain types of procedures may only happen at certain times of the day (e. g. The UPS truck comes at a certain time of the day and needs to be loaded and unloaded when it arrives).
    2. The second step is to either keep personnel away from these zones, limit personnel in those areas to those who must be there and/or make sure that anyone who might be in one of these areas is aware of the potential hazard.
    3. If workers don’t need to be in these areas at all, it becomes a simple matter of restricting personnel from these areas with barricades, ropes, fencing or other barriers.
    4. If some workers need to be in these area at certain times than it becomes a matter of restriction personnel to these individuals and making sure that the workers that have to be in these zones are properly trained and made aware of the dangers as well as making sure that other personnel know that they cannot and should not be in these areas (proper training followed by signs posting the dangers and the restrictions).
    5. If the areas is one in which it is not possible to restrict traffic (an example of this would be public thoroughfares where construction is taking place) then, where possible, measures should be taken to protect people from the danger (for example a covered walkway to protect from falling debris) as well as making sure that they are properly informed about the hazards that they might encounter in these areas. Awareness can be through personnel that is present to make them aware (Flaggers would fall in this category) or through signs posted for this express purpose.
  2. Assuming an improper posture
    Improper posture accounts for a massive amount of time off work each year. A clear understanding of the proper way to lift, to twist, to sit, to stand, etc… is a crucial part of reducing these injuries.

    The Fix:

    It is beyond the scope of this particular posting to do an in-depth training on the proper postures for the various jobs and conditions present in the workplace. To get some help in this area, simply click on the “Ergonomics” section of this blog in the categories section to the right.

    You will find a “ton” of information relating to ergonomic awareness and training.