You do your best. You make sure you've identified hazards, reduced hazards and trained workers in the proper technique for their jobs. But at some point each worker needs to step up and be responsible for his own safety. You just can't be there sitting on a worker's shoulder like a cartoon angel, whispering sweet safety nothings such as, "Make sure you're wearing your protective gear." The goal is to create a culture where safety concerns are integrated into everything your workers do because you can't personally prevent every accident. What you can do, to help with this goal, is to take advantage of how the human brain works. When giving safety presentations, introduce safety tips in the workplace with this trick to keep your message top of mind.
If you've ever crammed for an exam, you're likely familiar with the mnemonic device of creating an acronym to remember key points. This distills complex information into a memorable word. Successful acronyms are short, to the point and easy to remember. And so we suggest that in every safety presentation, you teach your workers to do a "PET scan" as a casual but effective workplace safety checklist.
Here's how you can break it down for your workers in language that speaks directly to them:
Safety Tip Step One: Protect
Before you undertake any action, whether it's a new task or part of a daily routine, perform a PET scan. P stands for protect. Many work tasks are associated with protective gear such as gloves, masks or harnesses. Before starting any task, seek out all available protective gear that will make the task safer.
Step Two: Equipment
E in this acronym stands for equipment. Most tasks require some type of tool or machinery to complete. When you take the responsibility to double check that the equipment is in good working order and well maintained before starting a task, employee safety gets a boost. There's likely someone assigned to perform maintenance tasks on the equipment, but a last-minute check will catch misses--we are human, after all--before they cause workplace injuries.
Step Three: Technique
Lastly, check your technique. There's a safer way to do most things, from cutting in a specific direction to properly using built-in safety mechanisms on complex machinery. Ask yourself if you're using the right technique. If you don't know, it could be that you missed the training or that you've just identified a place where your company's training could improve. Tell your safety officer. Make sure you employ the safer technique even if it feels awkward at first. Practice makes perfect. If you need motivation to adapt, remember that your colleagues and family are depending on you to work safely.
The "PET scan" applies to nearly every working situation, so it's a useful company-wide safe work practice. This tool helps dismantle the belief that only designated officers need to worry about workplace safety and puts the onus on everyone. Once you've introduced the PET scan idea, be sure to repeat it whenever possible. You'll have plenty of opportunities: in every safety presentation, on posters, in discussions and every time you train new employees on safety. PET Scans are easy to teach, easy to remember, and help improve employee safety one worker at a time.
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