- December 26, 2018
- Posted by: David Marshall
- Category: Manufacturing, Safety
For the most part, safety is usually a function of paying attention to your surroundings and avoiding situations that can cause you a problem, like failing to wear your personal protective equipment, or running across a hydraulic-powered conveyor line.
These safety violations fall more on the “benign” end of the spectrum, where people didn’t mean to violate good safety practices. They just didn’t think or exercise good decision making and were in imminent danger of death or serious injury.
On the other side of the spectrum, safety violations can be more aggressive and purposeful. The person means to violate them, or worse, where they mean to harm someone else.
Here are a couple examples.
Last week, I talked about a crane operator who refused to continue shifting a heavy load with a crane because the safety straps were frayed. To be honest, they probably could have lasted quite a while and we would have had time to reorder and replace them. However, the operator believed this was something was potentially unsafe, and he made sure he wasn’t in an unsafe position.
It was a Sin of Omission that the prior operator should have brought the matter to management’s attention sooner so it never became an issue. They would have had replacement straps available rather than waiting for them to arrive.
On the other hand, a Sin of Intent is where, for example, there is a moving machine that requires some form of maintenance, and someone purposely sends a maintenance person into the equipment to do whatever maintenance is required, rather than shutting everything down and securing the area.
Thankfully I’ve never had that happen in one of my companies, but there is more than enough evidence in OSHA citations to suggest it does happen, and that people have died from it.
I don’t know what happened to the person who committed the Sin of Intent, but I would think that was worthy of a murder charge, or at least manslaughter. And the maintenance person should have spoken up in their own defense and refused to perform the work instead of going into the machine.
I certainly know if they had worked in my company, they could have refused and been perfectly safe in keeping their job.
I’ve been a manufacturing executive, as well as a sales and marketing professional, for a few decades. Now I help companies turn around their own business, as well as speak at conferences, trade shows, and chambers of commerce. If you would like more information, please visit my website and connect with me on Twitter or LinkedIn.