Basic Causes are the underlying unsafe conditions or work practices in the facility. They contribute in varying degree to making a work situation hazardous. Examples include inadequately trained staff, unsafe work procedures, or the breakdown of equipment due to normal or abnormal use.
Immediate Causes are the actual unsafe practices, unsafe conditions or errors which directly result in the incident. However, they are only the observable symtoms of problems originating from the basic causes, which in turn exist because of lack of control. The most effective way to remove permanently the immediate causes, and thereby prevent incidents is to break the chain reaction by eliminating the basic causes. This can be accomplished by taking corrective action to regain control over the situation.
An example: A floor polisher was left in a hallway with the cord lying on the floor. A teacher carrying an armful of books did not see the cord, tripped over it, fell and broke her wrist. One of the immediate causes of this incident was the cord on the floor. Several basic causes may have been responsible. The caretaking department may have lacked the policies and procedures about storing cords. The operator of the floor polisher may not have been trained adequately in the safe procedures. The operator may have known the rules but chose to ignore them. The chain reaction could have been broken if someone had removed the immediate causes (i.e. noticed the cord and rewound it on the polisher), but that would not have prevented the hazard from recurring. Permanent removal of the hazard would require elimination of the basic causes.
Questions to Ask Yourself
Some Questions to ask yourself before starting your job or during work? Remember Prevention Starts Here!
- Is any of the machinery broken?
- Are there any warning labels or signs?
- Is there any moving equipment I could get caught in or on?
- Is there something I could slip or trip on?
- Do I need Personal Protective Equipment?
- Do I know how to do this job safely?
- Is there someone nearby who could get hurt by what I am doing?
- Is this task more than I can physically handle on my own?
- Articles dropped on the floor, must be picked up immediately.
- Anything spilled on the floor must be wiped immediately.
- Any hazards-pitted floor, torn or uncurled carpet or tile should be reported so that a work order can be filled out.
- Any unavoidable hazards must be clearly identified.
- Electrical cords should never extend across corridors or classrooms even if temporary. It temporary the cord should be taped to the floor to avoid a tripping hazard. If possible cords should be suspended overhead.
- Wear proper footwear for the work being done.
- Avoid walking too fast or running.
- Avoid changing direction too quickly.
- Avoid being distracted. When you are distracted people tend to not look where they are walking and can cause them to slip, trip or fall.
- Avoid carrying materials that obstruct your vision.
- Avoid wearing sunglasses in low-light areas
- The handrail should always be used for ascending and descending stairs. If the handrail is broken or none is present, this condition should be reported.
- Stairs should be climbed one at a time, with caution and without a load that obstructs the view ahead.
Safe Job Procedure for Ladders
- The correct type of ladder for the job must be used.
- A ladder should always be used when necessary. Chairs, stacked cartons, desks and makeshifts are unacceptable.
- The worker should always face the ladder. He/she should never lean out too far.
- Ladders should not be placed in front of a door that opens towards it, unless the door is locked, blocked, or guarded.
- A ladder should never lean against glass or plastic.
- Metal ladders should never be used near electrical equipment or circuits.
- Broken, loose or cracked parts on a ladder should be reported to the supervisor at once.
- The ladder should be placed on firm footing.
- The legs should be fully spread and the spreader locked in position.
- The top step and the pail shelf should not be used as steps.
Behaviors That Lead to Falls
- Walking too fast or running
- Changing direction too quickly
- Not looking where we are going, being distracted.
- Carrying materials that obstruct our vision.
- Wearing sunglasses in low-light areas
- Improper footwear.
Other Safety Items to Remember
- Safety is everyone’s Business. Report unsafe conditions/acts immediately.
- Strict attention should always be paid to the task performed.
- All injuries must be reported immediately.
- Ample rest and good health are a necessity if work is to be done safely.
- Hands must be washed often to prevent infection.
- Intoxicated persons must be prohibited from working.
- Running is not permitted on school premises. Extra caution at corridor intersections.
- Approach swinging doors with care.
- Horseplay and practical jokes are not permitted on school premises.
- Ensure that the correct safe work procedure is performed with the task at hand.
- Aisles and exits should never be blocked, even temporarily.
- Drawers and cabinet doors must be closed immediatley after use.
- Incoming workers should be warned of any hazards in the area they are entering.
- Know your school Emergency Plans
- The Supervisor should be available for consultation when in doubt of any safety issues.