Most accidents are not random incidents, especially in the Bakken oil field. More often than not, there are good reasons why they happen. In fact, a trained observer can examine and inspect construction work sites, and then do a risk assessment about where and how accidents will likely happen. For example, a busy area with a floor strewn with cables is a good indicator that a trip and fall accident is just a matter of time. Another indicator of potential problems is the close call accident.
Because no one gets hurt in close call accidents, they aren't always given the same attention as an actual construction accident. However, it was only because of luck that nothing happened. The same conditions that caused the close call will likely cause an accident in the future. Workers and supervisors who breathe a sigh of relief and then go about their business as if nothing happened are allowing a work hazard to remain until it injures someone. This is like noticing frayed cabling holding up a scaffold and doing nothing about it.
Treat Close Calls Like a Real Accident
Investigate the scene of a close call using the same investigative procedures as for real construction accidents. Management should work to zero in on the root causes and eliminate them. Note that there is often more than one cause. While one big hazard may be evident, there will usually be contributing causes such as dim lighting, no warning sign, or failure to follow safety protocol. Once determined, ensure that similar conditions don't exist elsewhere. If the cause was due to poor training or ignorance of safety rules, modify employee training accordingly.
Encourage employees to report close calls and make it clear that they or other workers with them won't be blamed. Punishing people for reporting these incidents ensures that no one will come forward. Treat a close call accident as a warning and a call to action. According to the National Safety Council:
"History has shown repeatedly that most loss producing events (incidents), both serious and catastrophic, were preceded by warnings or near miss incidents."
If unsafe working conditions injured you in a construction accident, seek legal advice from the lawyers at Odegaard Braukmann Law. Contact us today.