The dog days of August seem to be the time when more preventable injuries occur. Is it because we stop thinking about them? I don’t think so, but August is a great time to be reminded that injuries cause all kinds of disruptions to your workforce.
Many vessels and shops hire teachers and students for summer work. It seems when August comes around these seasonal workers begin thinking about what they’ll be doing when summer is over. Or maybe they think with a couple of months of experience under their belts, they’ve learned the ropes and can relax a little. Employers and vessel masters make note: This is the worst possible time to start relaxing about safety.
Now is a good time to hold a serious safety meeting where you, the boss, offer to train — starting with the basics — as if your employees were all greenhorns. And remember — never, ever connect safety with money or deductibles!
The moment your employees or crew hear the word “money” instead of “safety,” you’ve lost them. They will automatically think you are strictly trying to save the company money and that you don’t give a hoot about them.
When you get up in the morning, you have plans for the day. The last thing you plan on is getting injured and laid up. The same is true for your employees. So start by explaining that nobody wants to get injured performing his or her daily tasks. Then move on to the safe ways of doing each task. You might talk about hardhat use, safety glasses, or safe lifting techniques.
Involve supervisors in the safety talks. And if you have an accident or injury, ask a supervisor to investigate to see if the injury was preventable. Stress to your people that investigating these injuries is a matter of fact-finding, not fault-finding.
Don’t let safety slide at any time of year. And don’t hesitate to ask your marine insurance agent to help you. It costs nothing and can reduce crew injuries, strengthen your relationship with crews, and in the end actually help you cut your insurance costs.