Accidents happen, or do they?
Accidents happen every day in many different situations. Some are small, like spilling coffee on your lap, and others are big, like a car accident. But when we say “it was an accident”, do we understand what happened or are we skirting the truth? Not all accidents are accidents, but sometimes the result of a conscious choice to take a risk. When we know something is dangerous and do it regardless, and it results in an injury or an accident, it is not an accident, but the result of our own actions.
We all know that using a phone while driving is dangerous, and yet many people do it. When a driver fiddling with their phone drives off the road, it’s not an accident. On the construction site, workers are required to wear personal protective equipment, such as cut protection gloves. If an employee chooses not to follow the rules and gets a cut from a sharp tool, that is not an accident but the result of a conscious decision to take a risk. However, it is important to realize that the risks we take are not only the result of our own decisions. For example, the driver of a concrete truck may not be able to influence his schedule, and not all employees may know that they have the right to personal protective equipment paid for by the employer. It is therefore particularly important that employers and supervisors provide their employees with appropriate training and guidance to ensure that they are aware of the risks of their work and understand what actions they can take to protect themselves. In this way, we can prevent accidents that are the result of a lack of knowledge or awareness, and thus create a safer work environment for all parties involved.
Of course, there are situations where accidents truly are accidents. For example, a child may knock over the TV while playing. There has not been a conscious decision to take a risk. In many situations, however, we have to be honest with ourselves and admit that what happened was not an accident. When we refuse to acknowledge the risks we take, the same thing is always more likely to happen again. If we keep having similar accidents at our sites and we continue our operations without any improvements, we are not the victims of an accident. By recognizing the risks and taking steps to prevent accidents, we can create a safer and more productive work environment. This includes following safety practices and providing proper training and equipment to all employees. It also means acknowledging that accidents are not just part of the job, but rather a sign that something needs to change. By taking a proactive approach to safety and risk management, we ensure that everyone gets home at the end of the day at least as healthy and well as they were when they arrived.
It’s not easy to admit mistakes, especially when they are your own. However, there must be support in the work community for everyone who is ready to admit that they messed up.