Safety First – Using Consequential Thinking

Accidents happen, sometimes despite thoughtful planning. But planning is not enough and does not complete the formula. Maintain on-going consequential thinking as part of the process. That means to repeatedly reassess conditions, the environment, as well as your actions and those of others. A safety plan such as a daily work plan to site safety plan will have gaps if it is seen as a static go-to answer-all plan. Each person must use consequential thinking as they work; asking themselves what has changed and if their actions will have a negative impact at a future point.

Here’s a case in point: an industrial construction project, an ironworker was excited to demonstrate how he was wearing all the required safety equipment and was keeping his work area free of tripping hazards and clutter. He had in his possession a thoughtfully completed site-required task analysis form. Was he then working safely? Well, no he wasn’t. He was tightening bolts on an I beam with a large box-end wrench. They have been known to slip or even break. He was pushing or pulling against the torque which made him lean into or away from his work. A couple of feet away were a number of long bolts protruding from new concrete and ready for the next standing I beam. If he had slipped or fallen in the direction of the bolts, he could have been badly injured or even impaled. The solution was to cap the bolts and to use a wider stance when torquing the nuts on the bolts he was working on to steady himself.  So it pays to plan ahead and assess; what could occur in seconds or minutes ahead?

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