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Toolbox Talk - The Little things

Max People Health & Safety Bulletin

Bigger Picture Approach

When planning work tasks for the day and addressing hazards it is easy get caught up on the big hazards.  We focus on issues such as falls from heights, electrocution, and asphyxiation during a confined space entry etc. While these hazards need to be taken seriously and properly addressed, the bigger hazards are possibly responsible for taking almost all of the attention from the “little things”.
 

Points to Ponder

When we say “the little things” we are referring to hazards such as a cord on the ground, a slippery rung on the bottom of the ladder, or a hammer hanging off the top of a cabinet. These little issues can still pose great risk for injury to the employees working around them if they are not recognized and corrected.

The problem is we get used to seeing some of these little things around the worksite. Especially if there are bigger hazards at hand. At some point though, one of these smaller hazards may end up causing the next recordable injury on your worksite. It is much more likely for a company to experience multiple trip incidents over a year’s time that lead to injuries before they even have one fall from a height greater than 2m. For example, statistics show that 66% of falls happen on the same level resulting from slips and trips. The remaining 34% of falls occur from heights. An even smaller percentage of the 34% occurs from a height of 2m or more.

Do you think more emphasis is placed on protecting 100 employees walking across a factory floor or one employee working at a height of over 2m?
 

Summary 

The “little things” are the big things. While the big hazards need to be properly addressed, we need to also focus on the small hazards. There is a much greater chance of a small hazard causing an injury or incident before a larger hazard causes a serious injury or a fatality.