Clever Ideas and Prevention

Clever Ideas and Prevention

As I am ever the pessimist, hazard recognition is constantly foremost in my mind. Successful preventive Root Cause Analysis can hinge on the effectiveness of identifying potential hazards. Job Safety Analysis (JSA) forms often have a template line item: Any slip or trip hazards present?

Recognition of a hazard is the first step toward mitigation. At a recent workshop we spread out the cords on the floor for the projector and PC and once again I was faced with tripping concerns. As our workshop attendees are aware, the “Tripped on Barrier” is one of our core learning exercises. As I was presenting “Tripped on Barrier” I couldn’t help but form a “Instructor Tripped on Cords” cause map in my mind.

It looked a little bit like this:

If the barrier is observed it is less likely that the person will trip on the barrier. If the person takes a different path, it is also possible to avoid the barrier (tripping hazard). One possible solution is removing the electrical cords. This is not always the “Best Solution”; it is a possible solution. In the case of most workshops ‘removing the cords’ is not an option. However some rooms have a hard wired ceiling projector and a lectern.

Another possible solution is avoiding the electrical cords. As an instructor at the front of the room I am constantly moving around to field questions from one side of the room or the other and may step on cords or other obstructions.

In one particular case, I recall, I did not see the electrical cords because I became distracted answering questions. In this particular case the Cause Map would have looked like…

We can go even further by asking Why the person was distracted? The person who tripped is often the only person who can answer that question. It is also possible that an observer can witness the event and state the person was distracted. The Cause Map with more information added may look like…

A clever solution may be to remove the exposed electrical cords. Often times I see gray duct tape used. That is a possible solution but some clients are reluctant to use the sticky stuff on the floor or the duct tape may not be available. At a recent workshop at FMC Technologies in Houston, our workshop coordinator brought in a very clever Velcro Cover. It attached to the carpet AND it was colored Yellow!

(By the way, we also relocated the position of the cord to take advantage of a floor outlet located just in front of the table.) If it’s difficult to visually show the room orientation with a photo no problem; Excel has excellent drawing tools!

Now that these causes were addressed I presented “Tripped on Barrier” without the fear of tripping on the cords!



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