1162 Accident prevention – role of safety observation at workplace in reducing accidents

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Abstract

Introduction

Tata Motors Limited, a USD 42 billion organisation, is a leading global automobile manufacturer with a portfolio that covers a wide range of cars, sports vehicles, buses, trucks and defense vehicles. Our marque can be found on and off-road in over 175 countries around the globe. Sustainability and the spirit of ‘giving back to society’ is a core philosophy and good corporate citizenship is strongly embedded in our DNA. Our design and R and D centres located in India, the UK, Italy and Korea strive to innovate new products that achieve performances that will fire the imagination of GenNext customers. It employs more than 60 000 permanent employees and most of the employees work in various shop floors like assembly unit, power train, welding and painting unit and in ERC (Engineering Research Centre). Such type of working places pre-disposes employees to various type of workplace accidents, which include but are not limited to slip, trip, falls, lacerations, fractures, polytrauma, weld injury, blunt trauma, foreign body in eye and so forth. Most of these accidents are due to behavior-based safety (BBS). So, to reduce these occurrences, it was decided to target unsafe behaviours of employees working in such places with the help of World leaders in safety – DuPont that works on the principle ‘All accidents are preventable’. One of the most effective tool for addressing behavior-based safety is ‘Safety observations’ in these areas.

Methods

Safety observation is a kind of safety round undertaken in various areas which addresses unsafe act (80% prevalence) and unsafe conditions (20% prevalence). It is done by taking a round of workplace observing people working in an unsafe manner and then, actually making contact with them. It uses 6 step process (observe, comment on what the employee was doing safely, discuss consequences of unsafe acts and safer ways of doing job, take agreement for working safely in future, discuss any other safety issues and thanking the employee). All employees perform safety observation each week and it has proved a great tool for eliminating unsafe acts/conditions and thereby reducing/preventing accidents at workplace and simultaneously improving behaviour towards safety and morale of employees.

Result

With this methodology of safety observation, the accident rate in terms of LTI (Lost Time Injury) and TRC (Total Recordable Cases) has been drastically brought down from 51 cases (2013–2014) to 23 cases (2016–2017) – 55% reduction which includes 3 consecutive years of being LTI (Lost Time Injury) free.

Discussion

Safety observation has proved an effective and excellent tool, which reinforces positive safety behaviour, raises safety awareness thereby motivating people to be committed for safety, corrects unsafe behaviours in a positive, proactive way leading to prevention of injuries and property losses.

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