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A New Approach to Safety Issues: Learning From Others’ Experiences

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I may remember. Involve me and I learn.” Benjamin Franklin

Addressing all the safety issues impacting your club is virtually impossible, yet having your staff add to your collective safety knowledge is a great benefit to you, them and the club!

ABC’s of Accidents

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Accident Keyword List is a great tool for the club’s safety team and staff to use to develop or enhance a club’s safety program. This alphabetic list details real OSHA investigations of events that resulted in injury or death.

To effectively educate staff on the importance of workplace safety, have personnel choose the letters in this list that correspond to their first and last name. Let them choose stories of interest to share with the rest of the team.

This process is key because employees read what happened elsewhere and naturally will tell others. Due to the subject matter, they typically read more than one event and even go so far to tell others of the web site. Employees can also use the site to find incidents similar to events which may have occurred at the club. 

Grim Reality
My initial introduction to this Accident Keyword page was in a multi-day OSHA training course. My assigned letter was “H” and I chose “horseplay.” The worst part of my education was learning an “X” in the “FAT” column signified a fatality, making those stories much more difficult when I knew someone did not go home. 


If you have a safety committee, consider opening every meeting with a related story or perhaps assign each member of your executive staff a story to tell from this list.

Accident resolution can be viewed as tough love and is not a practice addressed at most clubs. Typically, following an accident, the office (hopefully) hears of the event and reports it to the worker’s comp carrier. Then the incident (if beyond first aid) is entered on the OSHA 300 log. Unless it is a very serious injury and OSHA shows up, few operations conduct an accident investigation. Then, since there is no follow through, it seems there is a repeat occurrence.

To help prevent these events, the National Safety Council and OSHA developed Incident [Accident] Investigations: A Guide for EmployersShare this publication with the general manager, controller, security director and safety team members. Also, be sure to give this to the chef, the maintenance director, superintendent or any of the other various departments responsible for ensuring club safety. While the entire publication is informative, the most important pages are the appendices, which offer a consistent approach to accident investigation—from forms to a series of questions (who, what, when, where, why and how).

Negating injuries is not an easy task. Learning through the experience of others is something we all should attempt especially to prevent the same injuries from recurring.

Alan Achatz of Club Safety Solutions is a former club manager and operates a safety consultancy helping clubs with hazard recognition, emergency action planning, OSHA compliance, safety audits and food safety. Club Safety Solutions will provide NCA members a 30-minute free consultation. He can be reached at 716-829-9148 or at