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Causes and Prevention of 0ccupational/ Workplace Accidents

Gordon Nyakiti Kenya School of Agtricultre P.O . Box 1909 10100 Nyeri

What is an accident? An accident is an unexpected event or unplanned occurrence which may result to:
Personal injury Death Damage to property Combination of the above

Leads to interruption of or interfere with operations and lowered productivity due to lowered morale on the part or the rest of workforce

Investigate accidents to establish

Source- is the type of work being done or activity being undertaken eg. handling of materials, using hand tools, operating machines, etc Cause- include unsafe conditions, unsafe acts or personal factors

Causes of occupational accidents

Causes of accidents are many and often interrelated They are divided into two main groups 1. Direct causes Unsafe acts Unsafe conditions

2. Indirect causes Personal/society factors

Unsafe conditions
Workers should be able to identify unsafe conditions at the workplace and provide remedial measures. Management must be willing to eradicate the unsafe conditions

Unsafe conditions
Include : Uneven floors Unguarded or inadequately guarded machinery Noisy machinery Presence of harmful chemicals Slippery floors Falling objects Presence of sharp objects Naked electrical wires Overcrowding and inadequate working space Machines and plants that are poorly maintained Platforms that are not fenced Inadequate lighting etc

Unsafe acts
Unsafe acts are caused by; physical and/or mental inadequacies, faulty attitudes, and lack of knowledge and/or skill.

Unsafe acts
Ignoring warning signs Disregarding the safety procedures Disregarding the safety regulations for the workplace Using equipments incorrectly Using the wrong tools Using defective tools Operating machines without authority

Unsafe acts cont.

Making safety devices inoperative Smoking near highly flammables Working while intoxicated Undertaking jobs that are beyond ones capability or training Unsafe loading or stacking Fighting Practical jokes Unnecessary running or jumping Horse play, etc

Personal factors
Physical/mental inadequacies
e.g. poor/ declining eye sight, height of persons working in a room meant for average persons, etc.

Age Lack of proper training Lack of awareness of the hazards Lack of information and instructions on the working methods and risks involved Use of personal protective equipment Job experience

Types of accidents
There are many types of accidents, all of which are classified according to how they occur: FALLING CONTACT: coming into contact with sharp objects or abrasive surfaces which can cause injury on contact e.g. contact with saws, grinding stone e.t.c. IMPACT: Injuries can result from being struck by moving parts of machines or striking against objects TRAPS: Limbs may be trapped between the closing motions of machinery (running nips).

ENTANGLEMENT: Injuries involve entanglement of hair, earrings, gloves, ties, necklaces cuffs and bracelets in moving/rotating parts of machines. EJECTION: Involves the throwing out of materials i.e. particles, chips, sparks, molten metal splash, broken machine components e.g. after bursting of an abrasive wheel. POISONING
Inhalation of toxic gases through the breathing system Ingestion of toxic substances through the alimentary canal (mouth) Absorption of toxic substances through the skin

STRAIN: Caused by carrying heavy loads.

Prevention of occupational accidents

Accidents don't just happen, they are caused. They are directly or indirectly attributed to human failings or mistakes, or errors. Since accidents are caused, they can be prevented.

Proactive accident prevention

Compliance with the health and safety legislations: The Occupational Safety and Health Act, 2007 and subsidiary legislations

Reactive accident prevention

Investigating accidents and then taking remedial measures to prevent similar accidents.

Prevention of occupational accidents

Management should:
Eradicate the identified hazards Ensure that all the machinery, plants and work tools are safe before they are brought to the premises. Ensure that plants are tested and examined by approved persons in time Train workers on the identification of hazards Train workers on safe work processes and procedures Provide institutions safety and health policy Enforce the safety and health regulations of the workplace. Cause thorough safety and health audit of the workplace at least once per year, by safety and health advisers. Support and make use of the safety and health committee

Prevention of occupational accidents

Workers should: Obey the laid down safety and health regulations Correct situations which they can, that present hazards Report every identified hazard to their supervisors Avoid engaging in improper activities or behaviors at the workplace. Work safely

Compensation for occupational diseases and work related injuries are provided for under The Work Injury Benefit Act (WICA), 2007. i.e.
For permanent disablement and Temporary, total or partial disablement

In the Directorate of Occupational Health and Safety Services- Ministry of Labour Employers are required to obtain and maintain an insurance policy in respect of any liability that he/she may incur under this WIBA.

Ideally all accidents and dangerous occurrences whether minor or serious should be investigated. This is important because some of the accident, which might appear minor, may have a potential of being a major accident. (The fact that an accident has caused only minor injuries or no injuries does not mean that a similar accident in future cannot cause more serious injuries or cause loss of life and destruction of property) Also all incidents of dangerous occurrences should be investigated.