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December 17, 2010
Zero Accidents: 10 Steps in the Right Direction

Every safety professional’s ultimate goal is zero accidents. Here are 10 steps that can help you achieve this critical objective.

  1. Make sure everyone is committed to safety. Everyone in your organization, from top management to the newest employee, must be committed to safety as the number-one priority.
  2. Set clear standards for workplace safety performance. Make sure that employees understand the rules and supervisors enforce them.
  3. Take the lead. Explain to supervisors and managers the importance of setting a good example and following all safety rules themselves—for example, wearing proper PPE and taking the same precautions as workers. Further, supervisors should lead the effort in hunting down hazards and correcting them.
  4. Get employees involved. For example, give workers responsibility for planning and conducting inspections, analyzing their own data on work hazards, and designing safety checklists.
  5. Promote understanding. Emphasize that hazards put employees’ personal safety and health at risk. Understanding the “why” of safety is a strong motivator.
  6. Train for competence and safety. Train employees well and frequently. Make sure they have the information and develop the skills they need to prevent accidents.
  7. Encourage feedback. Welcome input from employees. Praise workers who identify and correct hazards or report problems they can’t fix.
  8. Look for teachable moments. When hazards are identified, do more than just correct them. Use them as learning experiences to help workers become more alert and more sensitive to potential danger on the job.
  9. Move swiftly to correct safety problems. Make sure you respond promptly to identified hazards and take immediate steps to correct them.
  10. View accident prevention as an ongoing challenge. It’s something everyone must focus on every day, always improving, always setting new safety objectives, and always making steady progress toward achieving them.
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