Preventing Accidents

In this topic, we'll look at typical reasons why accidents happen. We'll also look at how company safety policies can help prevent accidents.

These are the learning objectives for this topic.


In this part, we'll look at why accidents happen, as well as some ways that you can help to prevent accidents. One of the most important things to remember is that, ultimately, you are the one who is responsible for your on-the-job safety not the government, not your employer, but you.

Generally speaking, accidents are caused by unsafe acts or unsafe conditions. So, workers can help to prevent accidents by developing safe work habits. Accidents that result from poor human behavior include accidents caused by a lack of communication, poor work habits, drug or alcohol abuse, and inadequate training.

You can help prevent these types of accidents from happening by knowing how to behave on the job and doing it.

Many accidents happen because of a lack of communication. For example, you may know the procedures to follow on a particular job but what happens if you use those procedures on new job site? You need to communicate with the people at the new job site. Ask questions to find out if they do things the way you are used to, or if there are other procedures you need to follow. And never assume that other people know something without talking to them about it. Assuming that other people will do what you think they will do is a cause of many accidents.

For example, if you need to touch wiring, never assume that electrical power has been cut off. You need to make sure, and that includes communicating with others and testing the wiring.

Accidents caused by unsafe acts can also be the result of poor work habits. For example, simple carelessness, horseplay, or procrastination can lead to an accident. "Procrastination" is another way of saying "putting things off until tomorrow." Putting off until tomorrow work that should be done today can lead to trouble.

What's one way that you think procrastination could lead to an accident?

One way that you think procrastination could lead to an accident is by putting off the repair, inspection, or cleaning of tools and equipment. If you put off the repair, inspection, or cleaning of tools and equipment, you may stretch their capabilities beyond their operating capacities. This can result in injuries to yourself and others.

Now, poor work habits are another part of human behavior that you can take steps to correct. Work habits and work attitudes are closely related. If you don't pay attention to instructions, you may also ignore words of warning. And if you let yourself become distracted, you won't be concentrating on the job. If you aren't concentrating, you could make costly mistakes that hurt you and co-workers.

For example, horsing around on the job distracts you and others from concentrating on the work at hand and can lead to an accident. Horseplay on the job is not fun, in fact, it's potentially lethal. Carelessness can be another cause of accidents, especially with tools and equipment.

Tools and machines don't know the difference between wood and steel and flesh and bone, so you should always be careful when using them. Accidents also result from alcohol and drug abuse. Every year, alcohol and drug abuse costs industry millions of dollars in accidents lost time and lost productivity.

Anyone working in an impaired state puts not only himself at riskā€“but his co-workers as well. Now, it's not just alcohol and illegal substances that can present a job hazard.

Select all of the choices that you think can present a job hazard.

In addition to illegal substances or alcohol, many prescribed and over-the-counter medications taken for legitimate reasons can affect your judgment and ability to work safely. If your doctor prescribes any medication that you feel might affect your job performance, ask about it. Your safety and that of your fellow workers depends on everyone being alert and attentive on the job. Now, another reason accidents occur on the job is inadequate training. Never operate any tool or equipment until you have been trained to use it.

You can greatly reduce the chance of accidents by learning the safety rules for each job that you perform. In addition to unsafe acts, accidents can be the result of unsafe conditions. One way you can improve work conditions to help to prevent accidents on the job is to practice good housekeeping.

Take a moment now to try a question on how you can prevent accidents. This worker is new on the job. He has a bad cold and he's taking a decongestant to help him breath easier. He's about to operate equipment he's never used before. A manual is available, but he thinks he can handle it on his own because he used a similar machine at a previous job. Select all of the reasons why you think this situation can result in an accident.