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Stopping the Spread of Work Safety Fails

By Celeste McLaughlin, BA, CEOE, CDMS, CPDM

It’s funny to look at pictures of safety fails which were caught before anyone actually got hurt. The funniness ends when the people creating the safety fails are employees at your company. Pictures of Funny Safety Fails

People are social creatures and naturally emulate one another. While this behavior has sociological benefits, it can be a disaster when an employee’s behavior is creating a safety hazard. We’ve seen it happen many times at different companies.

If one employee has an idea to stack a filing cabinet on top of his desk to create a standing desk, that is a problem. If 20 other employees see his desk before you do and then go on to create their own makeshift desks, that is an even bigger problem. The filing cabinet on top of the desk scenario was a real situation I saw while doing an ergonomics evaluation. When we see safety fails while doing ergonomics evaluations at companies, we always let employers know about them.

I bring up the filing cabinet on top of the desk scenario because we often see things employees have stacked on top of their desks to create standing desks when we go out to companies to do ergonomics evaluations. Besides the obvious danger of things falling and injuring someone or breaking equipment, there are ergonomics risk factors which are created when employees create their own standing desks out of different objects.

There are standards for workplace equipment which we follow when recommending equipment. If standards are not followed, injury can occur. That’s why it’s so important to stop bad safety habits before they spread throughout a company. ANSI Standards

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