An Incident Shared Is An Injury Spared

Photos show examples of the incorrect use of one strap to secure smaller cylinders.  
Send examples of Safety Incidents to Mike Dodd at or call him at 573-718-2887.

New program for members aims to improve safety.

The GAWDA Safety Committee is rolling out a new initiative aimed at improving safety procedures at member operations. The initiative is called Accident and Incident Sharing and is an information source about real-world accidents and incidents that have happened to GAWDA members. The incidents will be posted on GAWDA’s website and will provide:

1. A review of the incident

2. What the investigation revealed

3. Actions that were taken.

The Safety Committee wants to receive examples of accidents or incidents that will be shared with other GAWDA members. No company names or employee names will be revealed, and the story will be sanitized in order to hide identifiers. The goal is that by sharing these accidents and incidents, the knowledge gained may help avoid or prevent a similar event from happening at your company.

Here’s an example of an incident that was shared with the Safety Committee:

While tightening a web strap on a group of cylinders on a truck, the strap broke. The driver lost his balance, fell and broke a femur, resulting in 90 lost workdays and over $100,000 in Workers’ Compensation costs. The driver had over 30 years in the industry.Investigation
The investigation revealed the following:

• New straps were available in the facility.
• Drivers had never been trained in the proper inspection of web straps.
• Management had solely relied on drivers to determine the serviceability of straps.
• Management had no accountability for straps other than to purchase as requested.

Action Steps
• Drivers are now trained on strap inspection.
• Training is done periodically to maintain awareness.
• Management periodically inspects the straps to ensure they are replaced or repaired as needed.


Placing cylinders in a basket without securing them with a primary strap is incorrect, as is stacking them on the valves of other cylinders.

The $100,000 Strap
The incident on page 90 is an example of an incident shared with the Safety Committee. It is just one example of an incident and the resultant actions. I’m sure that every reader of this article can think of other examples. By sharing them with GAWDA members, they will be an important safety resource for your operation. If you’re a business owner, you read those words “broken femur and $100,000” with a gasp. A broken femur and $100,000 for something as simple as making sure a strap is still usable!

Whether you are new to the industry or have been involved for many years, the sharing of incidents, what the investigations revealed, and the actions taken will be an important resource. Providing real-world examples gets to the core of the issue and brings it home to people at all levels.

It is our hope that the sharing of these incidents will not only help members to be aware of the fundamental safety procedures of their daily work, but teach a new generation of young employees the essential skills required to be safe in our operations. These incidents will also make great safety meeting topics for your company.

How to Send Information
Members can send examples of accidents and incidents to the Safety Committee that will then be shared with the membership. All names and identifiers will be removed. You can even give them to us anonymously. GAWDA Consultant Mike Dodd is the contact for this program. Send Mike an incident by email at

Unsecured Dry Ice Bin Lids

A spot on GAWDA’s website will be set up where members can review the incidents. When a new incident is posted, members will receive an email from headquarters. It will also be announced in the GAWDA Connection with a link and highlighted on GAWDA’s home page.

Some incidents may warrant the development of a Best Practice. If one already exists, there will be a link to it on the website. For example, there currently is a Best Practice on Load Securement related to the example in this article. An archive of these Best Practices will be set up online and available to GAWDA Members.

Real World Safety
Every GAWDA member is rightfully concerned about keeping a safe operation. By developing this program, we believe that sharing the actions taken from such accidents and incidents will help to promote a safe industry, and, of course, will help our members from having to spend needless amounts of money on incidents that could easily be prevented if the right safety procedure is followed.

Not only can we learn from the mistakes of others but, more important, we can learn from their remediation. And this is exactly what we hope to accomplish. 

Gases and Welding Distributors Association
Kelly Bladow Meet the Author
Kelly Bladow, chairman of the GAWDA Safety Committee, is safety & compliance manager for Oxarc, Inc. located in Spokane, Washington, and on the Web at