You are the new Health and Safety Representative for the Chassis department for a large automotive manufacturer. You have been in the position for a month; however you have worked for the company for two years. At 7pm with 4 hours left to go on a Friday night, you receive a call from the engine line supervisor, where an accident has just happened. You are informed that two nurses from the first aid department are on their way.
About fifteen minutes later, you return to the plant and arrive on the scene. There you find Sarah, one of the company’s newest part-time student workers, lying on a stretcher unconscious with a bone fragment sticking through her jeans. There is large amount of blood on the floor. She is pale and surrounded by shocked co-workers.
You walk over to the area where Sarah was working. Her job was to lift the 120 pound transmissions from their containers using a hoist and then guide the transmission over to the engine which is passing by on the assembly line. She then installs the transmission to the back of the engine by guiding the hoist with one hand and tightening the bolts with an air gun in the other hand. This was the first time Sarah had been assigned to this job and she was trained on the job by an absentee fill-in person rather than the normal operator. Her supervisor comes over to you and insists that she must not have properly used the safety pin on the hoist she was using, as that is the only way this could have happened.
You approach two of Sarah’s co-workers who are looking at the transmission lying on the floor that had fallen onto Sarah’s leg to ask them if they saw what happened. You notice the top of the transmission, where the hoist was inserted to pick it up, is cracked and completely broken down the centre.You wonder was this a result of improper use of safety devices like Sarah’s supervisor said or was there something wrong with the transmission or with the hoist?
Describe your immediate next steps. Then outline the methods and tools you would use to investigate this accident. Who would you interview and why? What are the likely causes of this accident? What process would you go through to ensure a thorough understanding? What recommendations would you make for the future? (Note – if you make an assumption, please clearly state the details of that.)