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ACCIDENT PREVENTION OBJECTIVES 1. Legal objectives are given in local and/or national statute law, which details steps to be taken and carries the threat of prosecution or other enforcement action as a consequence of failure to comply. Civil law enables injured workers and others to gain compensation as a result of breach of statutory duties or because a reasonable standard of care was not provided under the circumstances. 2. Moral objectives derive from the concept that a duty or responsible care is owed to others. Greater awareness of the quality of life at and as affected by, work has focused popular attention on the ability of employers to handle a wide variety of issues, previously seen only as marginally relevant to the business enterprise. Environmental affairs, pollution, product safety and other matters are now commonly discussed, and there is a growing belief that it is simply morally unacceptable to put the safety and health of others inside or outside the workplace at risk, for profit or otherwise. Physical pain and hardship resulting from death and disability is impossible to quantify. Moral obligations are now more in the minds of employers than ever before. A dimension of the moral objective is morale, which also interlinks with the following two objectives. Worker morale is strengthened by active participation in accident prevention programmes, and weakened following accidents. Adverse publicity affects the fortunes of the organisation both internally in this way and externally, as public confidence may weaken local community ties, market position, market share and reputation generally. 3. Economic objectives are to ensure the continuing financial health of a business and avoid the costs associated with accidents. These include monetary loss to employers, community and society from worker injuries, damage to property and work interruptions. Some, but not all, of these costs are insurable in nearly all societies, and are known as direct costs. Increased premiums will be a consequence of claims, so an increase in overheads is predictable following accidents. Indirect costs include uninsured property damage, delays, overtime costs; management time spent on investigations, and decreased output from the replacement worker(s).



The Sources of Incidents and Accidents A combination of factors or causes comes together under the right circumstances to bring about these undesired events. Seldom, if ever, is there a single cause of a downgrading incident involved with safety, production or quality. Available information has led managers to accept the following conclusions: 1. The incidents that downgrade our businesses are caused; they dont just happen. 2. The causes of downgrading incidents can be determined and controlled. Four major elements or sub-systems in the business operations individually or in combination provide the source of causes that contribute to a downgrading incident. In order to better understand the circumstances that give rise to the causes of undesired incidents, it would be helpful to consider these four major elements or subsystems in the total business operation that provide their sources. 1. People This element includes both employees and management. While it has been established that the human element is involved in a high percentage of incident causes, we must be ever mindful that what employees receive, or fail to receive by way of education, motivation and job tools, depends on their relationship with management people. The employee is usually the human element directly involved with most accidents, since what he does or fails to do is seen as the immediate causal factor. We must however remember the employee-management relationships that greatly influence these employee actions as we determine what the people related causes really are. 2. Equipment By equipment, we mean the tools and machinery that the employee works with. Machinery could involve such items as drill presses, lathes, cranes, lift trucks automobiles and tractors. 3. Material The material that people use, work with, or make provides another source of incident causes. Such material can be sharp, heavy, hot, or toxic. 4. Environment This is the physical surrounding, and may include buildings, the atmosphere that the people have to breathe, lighting level, noise level, and temperature.


Accident Ratio Study In 1969, a study done by the Insurance Company of North America revealed a relationship between Incidents and Accidents. This has come to be called the Accident Ratio Study, or, since it was conducted by Frank Bird, is also sometimes referred to as the Bird Theory.

Serious or Disabling Accidents

Minor Injuries Accidents

Property Damage Accidents Incidents, no Injury or Damage
(Near misses) The study also revealed that the occurrence of incidents, under slightly different circumstances could have resulted in property damage, or minor injury, or major injury. The 1-10-30-600 relationships in the ratio would seem to indicate quite clearly how foolish it is to direct our total effort at the relatively few events terminating in serious or disabling injury when there are 630 property damage or no loss incidents occurring that provide a much larger basis for more effective control of total accident losses. In addressing the many incidents that occur on a daily basis, and this is not difficult nor expensive to do, not only do we eliminate the potential for accidents that result in damage to property, injury, or even death, but we also eliminate many downgrading events that adversely affect the operation of the workplace.

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Accident Causation In practice, accidents happen because a number of things have occurred simultaneously and it is the combination of these causal events which results in the accident. It follows from this that removing or changing any one of the causal events could prevent similar accidents in the future and, on a practical level, since some causal events are easier to influence than others, it is important for the investigator to identify all of the relevant causal events. These causal events are usually referred to as immediate or proximate causes and they are to do with what happened. In investigation terms, they can be identified by obtaining a detailed description of the accident and the events leading up to it. However, there is a second category of accident causes (usually referred to as the underlying or root causes) which deals with why the causal events happened. These causes are generally more difficult to identify in that it is easier, for example, to establish what occurred than it is to establish why it occurred. Nevertheless, it is only if these underlying causes are accurately identified that appropriate recommendations on remedial actions can be made and, for this reason, it is necessary to consider the Domino Theories which deal with the multiple underlying causes of accidents. Theories of accident causation: There are many accident causation theories, three of which will be considered in some detail later in this chapter, but before that some of the other theories will be considered:Pure Chance Theory: everyone in the population has an equal chance of an accident and there is no discernible pattern in events leading to an accident; accident is usually treated as an Act of God; i.e. prevention is not possible and is non existent. Biased Liability Theory: once a person has had an accident then the probability that they will have another is greatly reduced compared to the rest of the population at risk. Accident Proneness (Unequal liability) theory: certain sub group exists that is far more likely to incur accidents due to innate personality characteristics Theory of Unconscious Motivation: accidents are brought about by a subconscious process including guilt, anxiety, conflict, ambition. Reasons Swiss Cheese Model Under certain conditions, the holes in the slices line up, thus permitting the hazard to become an accident.


Each of these theories has advantages and disadvantages but few have been widely adopted in an occupational accident context. The more widely adopted accident causation theories have been the Domino sequence theories. HEINRICH'S DOMINO THEORY In 1959, the Late Herbert William Heinrich developed the original Domino Sequence Theory. Consider five dominoes standing on edge, and separated by spaces less than the height of each domino. If the first one topples, it strikes the second, which strikes the third, until domino number five falls over. This model can be used to illustrate that a chain or sequence of events can be listed in chronological order to show the events leading up to an accident.

This is how Heinrich's theory of accident causation works. According to Heinrich, there are five factors in the sequence of events leading up to an accident. These factors can be summarized as follows:


Domino No. 1 - Ancestry and social environment. Negative character traits that may lead people to behave in an unsafe manner can be inherited (ancestry) or acquired as a result of the social environment. Domino No. 2 - Fault of person. Negative character traits, whether inherited or acquired, are why people behave in an unsafe manner and why hazardous conditions exist. Domino No. 3 - Unsafe act mechanical or physical hazard. Unsafe acts committed by people and mechanical or physical hazards are the direct causes of accidents. Domino No 4 - Accident. Typically, accidents that result in injury are caused by falling or being hit by moving objects. Domino No. 5 - Injury. Typical injuries resulting from accidents include lacerations and fractures. Heinrich's theory has two central points:(1) Injuries are caused by the action of preceding factors; (2) Removal of the central factor (unsafe act/hazardous condition) negates the action of the preceding factors and, in so doing, prevents accidents and injuries. BIRD AND LOFTUS DOMINO THEORY In 1976, Bird and Loftus updated the domino theory to the form in use today. In the updated version: -

Domino No.1 - Lack of management control In the context of safety, Lack of Management Control could be failure to: Make inspections Conduct group meetings Indoctrinate new employees Make investigations of past incidents and accidents. Do job analyses Make job observations Review rules and procedures


Give proper job instructions. Plan work properly so as to avoid high work pressure. Install safety systems and barriers. Manage by two way communication Does not develop a health and safety culture within the organization. Assign and coordinate responsibilities. Financial restrictions Lack of commitment Lack of policy Lack of standards Lack of knowledge and information Restricted Training and selection of tasks.

Domino No. 2 - Basic causes. Basic causes are frequently classified into two groups: Personal factors o Low skill and competence levels. o Tired staff o Improper motivation, bored or disheartened staff. o Physical or mental problems. Job factors o Inadequate work standards o Illogical design of equipment and instruments. o Poorly maintained equipment o Missing or unclear instructions. o High workload. o Noisy and unpleasant working conditions. o Inadequate purchasing standard o Normal wear and tear o Abnormal usage. o Social Pressures. o Group attitudes o Trade customs o Tradition o Societal attitudes to risk-taking. o Acceptable behavior in the workplace.

Domino No. 3 - Immediate causes These are divided into Unsafe Acts and Unsafe Conditions. An unsafe act is a violation of any accepted safe procedure, which could permit the occurrence of an accident. Some examples are : 1. Operating without authority -7-

2. Failure to warn or secure 3. Operating at improper speed 4. Making safety devices inoperable 5. Using defective equipment 6. Using equipment improperly 7. Failure to use personal protective equipment. 8. Improper loading or placement 9. Taking improper position 10. Servicing equipment in motion 11. Horseplay 12. Drinking or drugs. An unsafe condition is a hazardous physical condition or circumstance, which could directly permit the occurrence of an accident. Some examples are:1. Inadequate guards or protection 2. Defective tools, equipment, substances. 3. Inadequate warning systems. 4. Congestion 5. Inadequate warning systems 6. Fire and explosion hazards 7. Substandard housekeeping 8. Hazardous atmospheric conditions: gasses, dusts, fumes, and vapours. 9. Excessive noise 10. Radiation exposure 11. Inadequate illumination or ventilation Domino No. 4 - Incident contact. Whenever substandard practices and conditions are permitted to exist, the door is always open for the occurrence of the incident that may or may not result in a loss. The incident is undesired since the final results of its occurrence are difficult to predict and are most frequently a matter of chance. As we said earlier, incidents that result in physical harm or property damage are referred to as accidents and usually involve a contact with a source of energy. The 1-10-30-600 ratio study also pointed out that more incidents occur that do not result in loss than do. It is important to recognize that each incident, whether or not it results in loss, provides an opportunity to obtain information that could prevent or control a similar future incident that could become an accident. Accidents are frequently classified according to their types. More common types are:1. Struck against 2. Struck by 3. Fall to below 4. Fall on same level 5. Caught in 6. Caught on 7. Caught between 8. Contact with a. electricity -8-

b. c d. e. f.

heat cold radiation caustics Overexertion (Over-load)

Domino No. 5 Loss Injury, Damage to Property, Damage to the environment.. Once the entire sequence has taken place and there is a loss involved with people or property, the results are usually chance events. The element of chance is involved in quality and production losses as well as those involved with safety, health and security. Losses involved with all areas of the business activity could be considered as minor, serious, major or catastrophic. PRIORITIES IN PREVENTION Basic principles should be observed in- setting up strategies for control and management of health and safety at work. These are: If possible, avoid a risk altogether by eliminating the hazard. Tackle risks at source avoid the quick temporary fix, or putting up a sign where a better physical control could be used (eg quieter machines rather than. provide personal protective equipment or erect warning signs) Adapt work to the individual when designing work areas and selecting methods of work Use technology to improve conditions Where options are available, give priority to protection for the whole workplace rather than to individuals (eg protect a roof edge rather than supply safety harnesses) Ensure that everyone understands what they have to do to be safe and healthy at work. Make sure that health and safety management is accepted by everyone, and that it applies to all aspects of an organisation's activities.

PRINCIPLES OF ACCIDENT PREVENTION In summary, these are: The systematic use of techniques to identify and remove hazards, The control of risks which remain, The use of. techniques to influence behaviour and encourage safe attitudes.


They are the primary responsibility of management.

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