January 3, 2013

Safety and the Autonomous Worker

Construction - croppedThink about how dangerous it could be to perform the job of a commercial electrician. Now think about how dangerous it might be if you performed this job alone.

This is a constant thought process here at Faith Technologies. While our company has a safety record we are proud of, we discovered that a disproportionate amount of our safety incidents and near misses were occurring among our service teams. This discovery could not be ignored.

The National Safety Council urges us to “speak with workers about their job and the risks they see on a daily basis. Collaborating with workers on a safety plan not only will encourage employees to buy in to safety, but it also will help structure a safety program that will be truly effective for the lone worker.”

How does one create this collaborative safety plan? Here at Faith Technologies we first had to recognize the safety risks unique to the autonomous worker or those magnified when working alone. We formed a safety committee for our service group to create a venue for identifying, discussing, and resolving their safety issues.

This committee meets monthly to discuss issues such as fleet safety, energized work, and extreme weather conditions. We were able to collaboratively create and distribute methods of procedure for eliminating or controlling numerous hazards. The committee reviews and analyzes a particular task to understand and eliminate the risks associated with performing it alone.

Communication with the lone worker is extremely important, and worker safety requires continuous effort and focus. Our employees are our most valuable asset. Providing new and innovative ways to keep them safe is the responsibility of each employer. Acting safely is the responsibility of each worker.

We can create a culture where each worker takes personal responsibility for their safety and the safety of those around them. This culture can only become reality through collaboration, commitment, and communication.

Autonomous workers, you are not alone.