In Safety Briefing No. 5, I shared a case study relating to hyper-awareness. Here is another case study to show that even when things are going wrong, our awareness can save us.
Case Study 2
An individual was having breakfast in the mess. After buttering his toast, he wanted to discard the empty plastic butter packet in the dustbin. To do this he had to lean over the bread toaster. Unfortunately, the baggy sleeve of his jersey touched the toaster and caught fire, resulting in burns to the underside of his upper arm. Give five recommendations to prevent similar accidents happening in the future. Remember to jot down your recommendations before looking at the answers.
Some possible recommendations
1. Move the bin
2. Move the toaster
3. Put up a sign “Hot Toaster”
4. Move the butter to the table
5. Ban butter/ toast/breakfast
6. Put a guard on the toaster
7. Don’t be lazy – walk around the table and throw away the tub
8. Get a new toaster
9. Get the Chef to make the toast
10. Watch out for baggy clothes
11. Don’t throw away the butter packet – just leave it on the table or take it with you
Lessons on Hyper-Awareness
* Yes, we must fix the ergonomics. It’s not right to have a poorly laid out worksite that could hurt someone. Notice how many of the recommendations are about ergonomics.
* However, we are only human and one day the worksite will not be perfect and the only thing we have to save us then, is our hyper-awareness, o the awareness of others.
* Before you decide to walk
Why not hold brief hyper-awareness discussions?
Why not do one or two case studies per week with your people – perhaps during the weekly safety meeting. Here are some tips on how to do this.
* Keep the case studies simple – simplify to a few lines and avoid too much technical detail – no photographs.
* Put the participants into groups of about five. Try to get a mix of trades and ranks although this is not essential.
* Ask someone to volunteer to be the “scribe” to keep a record of the recommendations found. No one will see what they write and there are no presentations. Bullet points are good enough. Try to avoid a senior person being the scribe.
* Give people about 7 minutes to do a case study.
* On re-joining, take each recommendation and pretend to make it difficult to do the recommendations and discuss what would happen if you couldn’t do the recommendation. This is where the real value comes. People know what to do but they often get stuck when they “can’t” do what they know they should. Discussing these difficult issues raises awareness and the need to stop jobs when things become difficult.
As always, your feedback is very welcome. If there are any topics you’d like covered in future Safety Briefings, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
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