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The challenge of enforcing safety rules in remote hazardous work areas.
Prof Saf 1991 Nov; 36(11):27-31
It is often easier to prevent employees from performing unsafe acts through manipulations of the work environment than through disciplinary action or motivational programs. Accident prevention programs must seek to identify reasons for the unsafe behavior and to redesign the work environment (e.g., tools, equipment, physical surroundings) to shield or remove employees from sources of harm and to prevent situations that may prompt unsafe acts. Unfortunately, in several industries, including underground coal mining, the work environment is innately hazardous, rapidly changing, and unpredictable--making it difficult, perhaps impossible, to fully protect employees by environmental manipulations. In these situations, companies must have effective safety policies. These policies must specify what is expected of employees and the consequences of violating rules. In addition, first-line supervisors must never ignore unsafe behavior. However, in work areas not easily monitored, it is crucial that all first-line supervisors (1) understand procedures for correcting employees found violating safety rules and (2) understand the importance of regularly encouraging employees to abide by safety policies. Unfortunately, if supervisors in remote work areas do not possess these qualifications, management may not be aware of their inadequacies until after a tragedy occurs.
Mining-industry; Accident-prevention; Injury-prevention; Underground-mining; Coal-mining; Safety-practices; Safety-programs; Safety-engineering
OP; Journal Article
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Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division