Safety Bob
Safety Management Consultants

TALK #12

They’re NOT Really Accidents

Ac-ci-dent - 1.
An unexpected and undesirable event. This is the first definition listed for the word accident in Webster’s dictionary. Each of the other definitions of the word accident are essentially the same. Accidents on the job cause all too many painful injuries and claim far too many lives. But most accidents are really not accidents. A better word would be incident because most accidents at work, while undesirable,  should not be unexpected. They shouldn't be unexpected because more than 80% of all accidents (or incidents) at work are caused by the unsafe acts of employees or unsafe conditions not corrected by employers - both of which can be controlled.

As a worker you control the first cause, Unsafe Acts. For example: A worker uses equipment that is defective or damaged, or they may use good equipment in a careless or other unsafe manner. Other examples of unsafe acts include disregarding posted warning signs, failure to wear a hard hat, smoking near flammables or explosives, working too close to power lines, handling chemicals or other hazardous materials improperly, putting your body or any part of it onto the unsafe access of a machine, or lifting material incorrectly.

The second accident factor or cause is Unsafe Conditions, which also can be found at many workplaces. Examples include inadequate or improperly installed guard rails or a lack of any guarding at all, which can lead to an accident. Insufficient illumination, poor ventilation, electrical grounding requirements not followed, too few fire extinguishers available, containers that are not labeled, careless disposal of waste or excess material -- these are just a few of many unsafe conditions that may be caused by you, your co-workers, or even subcontractors at your site.

You can make a difference by taking the time to perform your work safely and reporting any unsafe condition you discover to your supervisor immediately. When the cause behind the accident is found, you'll find that practicing workplace safety procedures will go a long way in preventing that accident from occurring again.

Whether they’re Accidents or Incidents - Learn the cause - Find the solution – and no one gets hurt!

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