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Imagine this scenario:
Workers are arriving for work on a winter day, and the temperature takes a sudden drop. A worker slips on ice at the entrance of the workplace. The worker goes into work and doesn’t tell anyone about the ice. Fifteen minutes later, another worker slips on the ice, falls, and breaks their wrist. The ice is finally dealt with as the worker is being loaded into the ambulance.
This injury could have been prevented by simply reporting the “near miss” in the first place—and taking appropriate action.
Safety and health is a shared responsibility
Workplace safety in Manitoba is based on a system whereby everyone in the workplace shares responsibility for safety and health. If someone sees a hazard and can act to eliminate it, then they must do so. If they are unable to address the hazard, then they must report it to someone who can—someone with the authority to ensure the hazard is addressed.
In the scenario with the icy entrance, the worker who first slipped on the ice may not have known where the salt for the ice is kept. If they couldn’t deal with it themselves, they should have advised either the person responsible for maintenance or their supervisor of the icy condition of the entrance. Had this be done, the second fall may have been prevented.
When an incident or injury occurs in your workplace, investigating can give you information on the hazard or hazards that caused them.
By investigating the icy entrance, the maintenance team may be better able to take preventative steps to ensure that doesn’t happen again, such as keeping a bucket of salt near the entrance and asking people to use it if they notice any ice.
SAFE Work Manitoba, a division of the WCB, is the public agency dedicated to the prevention of workplace injury and illness.
Working with our partners in the safety community, we provide prevention education, safety programming, consulting and strategic direction to create a genuine culture of safety for all Manitobans.