Important! Before beginning this step you should have completed:.
STEP 1 - Used the Health and Safety Diagnostic Tool (HSDT)
This step will help you engage your workers to find the root causes of any health and safety issues you have on site and learn from your mistakes.
Leadership and Worker Involvement strategies should be used to prevent accidents, ill health, harm and loss happening on site. Leaders need to learn from those involved in the work activities, to gather information about conditions on a site. Leaders should do this to find out both how poor conditions may cause health and safety problems, and how individuals can be encouraged to work safely, all the time.
This is important because:
- The full range of causes of accidents, injuries or ill health on your construction site are not immediately obvious.
- Blaming the individual worker may not only be unfair, it may also mean you overlook the real cause (eg a business decision, environmental reasons, inadequate PPE).
In order to prevent the same incident happening again you must explore all potential causes. Engaging with your workers will help you get to the root cause of your health and safety issues and learn from your own and your workers' mistakes. Because they are present when an accident happens, workers are often in the best position to identify the many factors which contribute to causing accidents.
Engaging with workers to explore causes also:
- Reinforces the message that unsafe practice will not be tolerated
- Stops poor practice from becoming a habit
- Helps you to target resources at genuine causes
- Lets you identify and learn from good practice.
The simplest tool to get to the root cause of your H&S issues is the ‘Five Whys’ tool.
Think of a situation where someone in your business was put at risk, for example by falling from a ladder. Click the arrow below for the sort of questions you should be asking yourself about an incident like that.
If you do not have the ability to use Flash please access the text version.
This example shows that the root cause was not the worker; it was because there was no safe system of work in place. For guidance on using this technique download:
Get to the root cause of your health and safety issues
Don’t blame individual workers. Explore all the potential causes of health and safety issues and recognise that there are many reasons why people make mistakes. Two main reasons that lead to errors are:
Workers make a genuine mistake. Even the most experienced of people sometimes make mistakes.
Workers may know the health and safety rules but may break them for many reasons eg time pressures.
This is one of the biggest causes of accidents and injuries at work and occurs for many reasons. Most are motivated by a desire to do the job unhampered.
The Human Failure tool will help you to identify the reasons behind common mistakes and how you can reduce these.
More useful tools
If you want to learn about other techniques that help identify the root causes of health and safety issues, you can also use:
Acting on Worker Engagement
This tool will help you use worker involvement to explore the root causes of your health and safety issues.
This tool will help you to identify both the causes and consequences of unsafe behaviours on site.