May 2013, a worker for Swan River lumber manufacturer was seriously injured while operating a wood edger. A log was fed incorrectly causing it to jam. When the worker reversed the machine to realign the log, a slab of wood shot out of the machine impaling the worker’s left thigh. According to reports, Safe Work Procedures had not been developed for the task and the worker still suffers the effects more than two years later. On September 25, 2015, the employer plead guilty to failing to ensure the safety, health, and welfare of its worker by failing to identify hazards associated with work performed with a Compact Gang Edger and was fined $26,502.
The effects of this kind of incident to injured workers can include:
- Loss or reduction of income
- Medical expenditures: medication and rehabilitation costs
- Permanent disability
- Pain, anxiety and depression and even lead to suicide in some instances
- Career change and or limitations in reaching professional goals
FIVE BEST PRACTICES FOR PREVENTION
- Identify and assess hazards of your specific machines and jobs by conducting a Job Hazard Analyses.
- Develop Safe Work Procedures in writing and training workers on the same.
- Obtain the consultation of affected workers in the process for both their knowledge and buy-in.
- Include task observation in regular workplace inspections. Often an unsafe behaviour can be identified and corrected through intentional safety walkthroughs and inspections.
- Deal with the unsafe act or condition when you see it. Don’t minimize it or put it off like many organizations do.