Safety Awakening – “Don’t Always Accept The Status Quo”

February 27, 2015 No Comments

“Don’t Always Accept The Status Quo”


As a safety professional, you will often hear “well, we’ve always done it this way and no one’s been hurt yet!

When doing a risk analysis you look at not only the past accidents and near misses, but you also evaluate the “potential” for a serious accident.

In the 1980’s when inspecting the kill floor at a beef processing plant, I was concerned when I saw employees standing on the raised kill floor platform with razor-sharp knives in their hands.  The kill floor is located about 10 feet above a concrete floor.  Its’ surface is coated with fat and blood and is very slippery.  There is a moving chain conveyor directly in front of kill floor employees on the unprotected front side of the kill floor platform.  If an employee were to slip and fall to the concrete floor below with a knife in his hand, the resulting accident would likely be serious or fatal.

I mentioned this concern to the management at this plant.  They said that no one had ever fallen from the kill floor in the past.  However, they did agree to work with me to come up with a fall prevention solution.  Below is a safety alert that I helped OSHA write on this case.  It summarizes the action this employer took to reduce this industry wide safety hazard.

 Click here to see a larger copy of this safety alert

Had this packing plant continued with the status quo and not taken the above corrective action, this serious hazard would likely still exist.  

In safety, continuous improvement is usually preferred over maintaining the status quo.



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