Let's Plan on It!
by Lauren Anderson
Pre-Task Planning is a system that examines job tasks to pinpoint hazards before they occur. By observing the connections between worker, task, tools and environment, Pre-Task Planning not only helps prevent injuries and incidents, it can aid in auditing, training and incident investigation.
Research has shown that this approach, more than perhaps any other, brings the team into a decision-making process that directly impacts their own safety performance. The involvement of all employees can have a dramatic impact on decreasing injury rates.
At shift start or before your team begins a task, take the time to hold a Pre-Task Planning session. Involve Safety personnel early in the planning stages of work to ensure compliance and avoid any delays.
Evaluate the start-up, shut-down, and maintenance, as well as the core steps required to perform the task safely. Detailed work steps help to ensure employees understand the task at hand.
Pre-task planning should always be conducted at the actual job site, allowing workers to observe the work area and identify any hazards, unsafe conditions or unsafe behaviors that could pose a challenge during the course of the day. During the work area hazard assessment, remember to consider hazards resulting from the work environment as well as those produced by the task itself.
Engineering controls can eliminate a hazard by altering a machine or workplace to prevent exposure to a hazard. If engineering controls are impossible, administrative controls such as training or rotating jobs may be an option. For further protection, PPE can help, but should always be the last line of defense.
Plan Every Task With Safety In Mind
Task planning does not stop when the JHA/STA is completed. Taking the time to plan every task performed each day – no matter how small – is the best way to ensure no one is placed in a potentially hazardous situation.
You can also use the STAR Human Performance Method: Stop, Think, Act and Review.