Proactive and Reactive Safety
A proactive safety is the key to success of any HSE program in any organization or construction site.
A proactive safety approach is the one where we are able to identify the hazards and control their risks before they turn into accidents and impact workers’ health and safety as well as overall project and the environment.
Various factors should be considered while designing and implementing a robust hazard recognition program. Some of them are listed below.
- Take time and pay attention to details to recognize hazards at work
- Recognize the type of hazards; Conditional or Behavioral
- Focus on conditions which may result in serious injury or accident
- Seek opinions from subject matter experts from other departments
- Learn from previous accidents or loss incidents
- Talk to workers and line supervisors about their past experiences
In addition to the above mentioned criteria, utilizing safety related documents, such as work permit, site instruction, method statement, job hazard analysis, risk assessment, standard operating procedure, inspection checklists, etc. can greatly help to identify a wide range of workplace hazards or exposures.
Reactive approach, on the other hand, includes safety measures which are taken after an incident/accident has already occurred. Conventional it may sound, but if pursued sincerely a reactive safety approach could be a life saver. It could help us effectively identify the hazards from the past and mitigate the possibility of similar future accidents from happening. For example, making sure that your work area is free of any slip, trip or fall hazard is proactive safety, whereas fixing such hazards after someone slipped, fell and injured herself or himself is reactive safety.
As suggested by the Murphy’s Law, absolute safety is practically unattainable, however, we can always work towards reducing hazard exposures and mitigating risks in our workplaces.
Reduced risk is in fact safety. So it makes more sense to make use of both proactive and reactive approaches to implement appropriate HSE plans and procedures which in turn would help us achieve increased safety by guarding us against the risk of accidents, injuries and illnesses. So, the question is how we mitigate or control the risks prevalent in our construction sites, plants or factories. (Cont’d….)
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