Hurry Up and Get Hurt; OSHA Update: Find and Fix the Hazards

Disaster Preparation/RecoverySafety

This article originally ran in OSP Magazine

Root cause analysis is a tool that many safety professionals and organizations use to identify “what caused the injury.” This is tough work because the injured party usually says, “Oh, it just happened!” As we dig down and get to the root cause, 97% of the time we find the injured person didn’t see the hazard and failed to control it. During the investigation (or as I like to call it, “Interrogation”) we often find a competent individual who just got in a hurry and got hurt.

Hurry is the most common cause of injuries I have reviewed, investigated and advised on. Hurry is the reason we forgot to “follow the safety procedure.”

Hurry is the reason we:

• Break the speed limit driving to the safety meeting.
• Run to the safety meeting.
• Walk past spilled coffee in the hall thinking, “somebody should clean that up”.
• Trip climbing the stairs because we have an armful of donuts for the (You guessed it!) safety meeting.

Whether at work or at home, it is hard to stop and take the time to do an activity safely unless we consider the possible outcome.

For example:

• Breaking the speed limit can lead to a wreck.
• Running can cause you to land in the hospital.
• Leaving spilled coffee uncontrolled can cause a co-worker to slip and fall.
• Tripping and falling down the stairs can put you in a wheel chair the rest of your life (not to mention all of the ruined donuts).

We hurry when we are trying to catch up. Feeling rushed takes up space in your brain and can lead to a mistake. The control for this easily-but-seldom-dealt-with hazard is to slow down. If you are late starting a job, it is likely going to take you the same amount of time. In other words, recognize that you cannot make up the lost time. Being late on jobs continually may mean you are continually late getting started. (Imagine that.)

Some people feel rushed because the boss has pushed up the deadline for a job, and now it sounds like he or she is telling you to hurry up even though it may mean that you get hurt, but that’s not true. Schedules get pushed up for many reasons, but when it comes to doing a safe and quality job, the “squeezed” deadline might not be met. The reality of hurrying through any job is that it leads to mistakes. Mistakes lead to injuries and an inferior product.

This week in your safety contact time, open the discussion about hurry. See if anyone can describe what hurry looks like on the job and what could result.

Go one step further and count how many times you find yourself being in a hurry during the next 5 work days. Report back at your next safety meeting.

Take the time to do this and you will be well on your way to targeting zero injuries and ensuring that Nobody Gets Hurt on your job.

To learn about Carl’s work, you might want to visit:


OSHA Administrator David Michaels called the agenda “ambitious” and held a live Web chat April 26, 2010, to field questions and comments from stakeholders.

“This regulatory agenda only represents those items in which we are moving aggressively forward on at this time,” Michaels said during the chat. “OSHA does not have the resources to move forward aggressively on all rulemaking necessary to address all the pressing workplace health and safety hazards. These are very challenging decisions when American workers are being killed, injured, or made ill on the job every day by a variety of hazards.”

Injury and Illness Prevention Program
The agenda proposes a rule requiring employers to implement an Injury and Illness Prevention Program, which would involve “planning, implementing, evaluating, and improving processes and activities that protect employee safety and health.”

“Requiring employers to ‘find and fix’ the hazards in their workplaces does represent a major paradigm shift for OSHA,” Michaels said. “I believe it is long overdue.”

Michaels could not yet offer specific information the standard, including its scope, which industries it will cover or what type of resources the agency could offer employers, but said that employers would be responsible for all hazards in their workplace. He also stressed that the standard would not be a substitute for other OSHA standards and would instead offer “a mechanism to achieve the culture change needed in this country to effectively address workplace safety and health issues.”

From Carl: I suggest that you Google for more information because there is more being said about new OSHA initiatives.


Consider purchasing 52 Weeks of Safety Workbook for each of your team members. This will meet some OSHA compliance training for just pennies per week per employee.

This workbook was designed to be used as a tool to teach employees about safety in an easy-to-read-and-understand format.  Each week provides discussions about:

• Employee Responsibility
• Ladder Safety
• Housekeeping
• Walking and Working Surfaces
• and more.

Employees sign and date their copy of the book, and each week their supervisor leads them through a short, tightly focused discussion on current OSHA regulations. (Discussions are generally 12 1/2 minutes or so.) If your employees complete just 48 of these 52 discussions, they will have met the minimum 10-hour requirement of an OSHA 10-hour outreach program.

To view Carl’s video about 52 Weeks of Safety Workbook, visit

If you know anyone who works in a company that needs to provide OSHA training for its employees, please pass this link on to them.

For more information, visit

The workbook is available at and at Purchasing information for multiple copies is available.

About ISE Staff