Tipping point, accidents versus personal protective equipment

Tipping point, accidents versus personal protective equipment

(Parte 1 de 6)

Tipping point: accidents versus Personal Protective Equipment

Antonio Fernando Navarro [1]


You don't have information and reliable research that enable or no idea of the relationship, that can exist between the use of Individual protection equipment (PPE) and collective (CPEs) by workers, and the percentage of accidents occurring because the workers are not made use of these devices. This article is not intended to get into the merits of the absence of complete information obtained in the investigation of the causes of the accidents, but bring the results of research conducted with the workers about this theme. What brings you relevant in the article, besides the result of specific research is seeing/perception of the employee and the reasons leading to these results? Regardless of the Organizational Culture that only becomes complete when incorporates workers ' culture. By high labor turnover, in some activities there is no possibility for companies to incorporate information or data from workers who will leave the company at any time, either due to the termination of services or contracts, or even spontaneously, when the employee asks for the resignation of a company to go to another to earn a better salary for him. This is the purpose of the article. Keywords: PPE, CPEs, culture of safety, accident prevention, risk management.


Before dealing with the issue of risk management applied to job security, with a view to identifying the lack of employment protection devices against accidents by workers, it is important to consider, initially, about the affirmative when provocative if mentions the lack of reliable information, through which one can point to the causal links between the industrial accidents, and the lack of use of personal protective devices and even the collectives. Is not the purpose victimize workers and much less be stated that these cause your accidents or that their companies do not provide the correct PPE's to each activity.

There are a few reasons to show the gap in research and information. The first is that effectively the environment where the worker will produce should be released to the beginning of the activities only after the prevention against all risks [2] . If this is not possible, the company must employ the said collective protection equipment, to protect workers from possible risks with equipment, facilities or work areas. If the performances of the company with respect to the protection of workers are not suitable, should be provided to workers with personal protective equipment. Occurring in an accident, the company must demonstrate that the equipment was adequate, that workers were qualified for the job and the company inspectioned the good use of these protective devices, and if the worker understood the necessity of such use of PPE. Companies will always be held liable for the occurrence of accidents in the first place.

The answers to these questions here described a few times are checked, and don't deserve the attention necessary to be part of special technical articles. Issues such as these and others should be routinely observed in risk management programs. However, it is necessary to evaluate the depth of these risk analyses and, especially, the focus of the work. A risk management program can be as large as required business needs and as comprehensive as the professional qualification that performs.

In general, acts during the activity of Risk Management the "look" of the engineer turns to the prevention of losses. In work safety management, practice has shown that the actions of the professionals evaluate the means of prevention of life of workers, and yet, these actions are predominantly reactive [3] . To this end, are evaluated previous accidents through the statistical analysis of accidents and mortality rates, that is, working hard in the assessment of compliance with technical standards, accident statistics, aiming at the identification of regulatory or legal breach, and less specific analyses of accidents, seeking to identify the primary or basic causes accidents, here if entering employment of PPE.

The concept of Life and prevention of reactive actions is still one of the paradigms that needs to be figured out for the development of management techniques, time Life prevention should be linked to preventive actions, or in the jargon of the specialists, proactive actions, because only so if it blocks the manifestation of accident, or disconnects the existing risks in the environment with the probable and future accidents. Simply breaks up the link that binds the "causes" to the "effects". You can also extend the concept to the blocking of "dangers" arise the "risks". All these factors are always associated with.

Risk Management is much more than just applying formulas or tables for the dimensioning of losses. Minimally, a risk management begins with activities like:

• identification of potential hazards and or;

• understanding the impact of risks on the premises, so widespread;

• studies of the frequencies of occurrence of risks, is the form of deviations, nearaccidents or accidents involving loss or damage, including to the analysis of temporality;

• studies of the severity of the damage or loss any probable and possible, as well as those that have already occurred, as well as the impacts that these could cause in the productive processes, etc..

These are scenarios that need to be identified, associated or correlated. In this regard, Association of scenarios, it should be considered that the accident is not "something" that arises immediately. To this end, favorable scenarios emerge to occurrences of accidents. In many management processes the activities of professionals are restricted to "reactive action zone", not obeying the systematic and limited the analyses mentioned statistics of accidents. These analyses are important because they can provide information relevant to the establishment of the frequency of occurrences and or the severity of the losses. Thus, there will always be a need for additional or complementary information, such as: 1a. Reasons for occurrence of accidents; 2a. Repeatability with that similar accidents occur; 3a. Behavior of workers in their working environments; 4a. Influence of workers in cases of accidents; 5a. Behavior of management risk adverse scenarios front; 6a. Actions of management in order to avoid or mitigate adverse risks; 7a. Degree of motivation of workers involved; 8a. Influence that these motivations, General or specific, may represent in reducing accidents; 9a. Relationship between the working environment and occurrences of accidents; 10a. Levels of planning; 11a. Degree of effectiveness of the plans of actions; 12a. Participation of all stakeholders, especially the workers, in the action planning; 13a. Compatibility between the degrees of knowledge workers and the activities carried out; 14a. Evaluation of workers ' qualification processes; 15a. Form of hiring of the services; 16a. Checking the turnover in the activities, as well as the influence that the occurrences of industrial accidents; 17a. Characteristic of supervisory processes of tasks; 18a. Verification of the impact or influence of supervisory processes in the behavior of workers; 19a. Deadline for the implementation of activities; 20a. Difficulties encountered in the work environment that delay the time of execution of tasks or expose workers to risks identified during the planning phase of the services; 21a. Existence of pressures or awards for workers to complete their tasks more quickly; 22a. Conditions of human support to workers in construction sites; 23a. Provision of appropriate tools and equipment, among other activities.

Accidents never follow pre-established standards or known, because if it were could be more easily blocked. Blocking actions can take from the moment they are identified risks.

The routine analyses and even the experiences of managers may not be directed to a relevant question, the lack of which, under certain circumstances, in different environments, different also works, workers may be more exposed to suffer accidents, or the "environment" as a whole can be responsible for the increase in the number of industrial accidents. So the title refer to "tipping point", an expression subtracted from the mathematical concept, when then what would the "expected" is no longer to be. Right now, there is a discontinuity of the normality of a reasoning process. The normal is. But when we treat of industrial accidents or analyze the degree of safety of an environment we shouldn't consider possibilities other than planned? Certainly, since if we can plan that at some point we will have greater probabilities of accidents, why don't we avoid?


The main methodology used in the presentation of the results follows the concepts established by Malhotra (2011) [4] . But, not left off the experiences and or experiences of the professionals who assisted in the research, given that these, in many circumstances, were spectators of accident scenarios or participated in these analyses. So, as the time, the environments, the characteristics of the services, work methodologies, among others, where the surveys were different, it was used the same technique of approach to talk with workers, following specific methodology, discussed with security professionals of the work of contractors and contractor, leading to these professionals, retrospectively, after data had already been tabulated, the results and the suggestions proposed.

Risk identification should be undertaken by professionals who have experience and knowledge in the area of processes and risk environments; have high knowledge of the application of the perception of risks and their consequences, almost always translated for loss or damage, before same as these will occur; as well as have knowledge of concepts of probability, statistics and basic calculations to the mathematization of the risks.

The risks are often not adequately perceived by those who do not act in the activities, object of analysis. In many environments the risks are easily noticeable by everyone, and even obvious, according to some, while in others, this may not occur easily. For example, one such area is that of construction. There is no doubt that there are risks when: using a sledgehammer, because it is a tool with potential to cause losses and reported numerous accidents; If digging deeper trenches, with reports of collapse of excavated material on workers; they settle bricks to high heights, with the workers exposed to the risk of falling and or projection of materials on people or facilities, or to carry out work on energized environments or high atmospheric pressure. In these activities, the Association of cause and effect is more evident. Not if you want to go over the concept that under situations of extreme hazards can have higher risks, is how the frequency of occurrences or expectation of loss or damage.


The adoption of best practices can be an efficient and fast means of improvement of the stocks of companies that must have been the result of the analysis of results presented by similar companies already in higher levels of practices and certifications, and internal or external. However, all the changes end being hobbled by "cultures" of the companies, which make it impossible, at times, that the expected results are not sufficient for the change of paradigms from the company. Therefore, become necessary adjustments so that the assimilation of these practices take in smaller periods.

There is no "cultures" to be imposed, but rather concepts and experiences that merge can turn into a "culture". It is necessary to review the concept of "culture" is something from a standard or procedure. The "culture" always incorporates values that are followed, and not adopted by all, from the moment that everyone to follow them.

In a way, there is the fad of "copy" methodologies and practices employed in other companies, especially when there is the admission of those same companies managers. However, one must bear in mind that there are always factors predisposed to no immediate acceptance of these changes, including the managers who are with the company longer. An idea can be good. But, for that result in positive results have to be taken into account a number of important considerations, and that does not depend exclusively on the good acceptance by employees. E.g. should be considered:

• identity of the practices and production processes;

• similar levels of training of workers;

• similarity of production processes;

• identity management processes and even to encourage the workers.

Anyway, you have to consider that even when it comes to companies in the same industrial sector the final results may not be the same. Reaches sound weird when it appears that similar activities, similar procedures and workers with the same degree of experience, can lead to different results when it addresses the issue of the occurrence of industrial accidents. And, why this occurs? We could devote an entire article to address this question, but simply put it, we would say that the "times" in which the accidents occur are distinct. A minimal distraction, a tool employed in the wrong way, a greater pressure for supervision, tiredness due to a simple flu, plus, you can transform the environment, secure to insecure.

All of these issues, related or associated with good practices and perceptions of workers, was reason for research that is presented below. Mislead those that workers do not realize when there is "monitoring" of the workplace and of the activities developed. This concern is due to the lack of risk prevention culture by employees, which, in many instances, may be making detours that lead to accidents, even without having full knowledge of this Association of deviation vs. accident. Knowing you can be making deviations is afraid of being monitored.

First Research (AFANP):

Period: nov 2006 to jun 2007 (8 months of research and evaluation) Objective: Assessment of the level of perception of employees about the existence of working procedures. Sample: 583 workers in two companies, in activities to support the construction and Assembly.

The main objective of this research, carried out under the coordination of

AFANP, by two experienced professionals, with more than 20 years of experience in the area of work safety, was checking whether workers had the correct perception or understanding of service instructions, of how these were scanned and evaluated, the importance for the implementation of activities and for the protection of the workers themselves. To this end, no specific group were evaluated, with the "sample" composed in function of its components make more procedural deviations than other workers, on average:

• ≤ schooling until the sixth grade completed;

• ≤ 9 months by companies specialized in, and

• ≤ 3.5 years professional experience.

The questions were formulated individually, with simple answers, and considering that the interview could not exceed 15 minutes. So, these should be selfexplanatory and the limited number of questions, for deeper in specific questions.

(Parte 1 de 6)