The American Heritage Dictionary defines accident : An unintentional and unexpected undesirable event. as “an unexpected undesirable event.”
Many of the experts who study accidents and encourage safe practices believe that there is some personal or physical factor responsible in every accident. Some of the personal factors that may be responsible for causing accidents are:
- Stress: People who are under stress may be distracted from their work by thoughts of worry, anger, sorrow, love, or hate.
- Illness: When a person is ill, he or she may not be able to give all the attention necessary to a task.
- Fatigue: If a person does not get sufficient sleep, for whatever reason, he or she may be less alert to the requirements of the job.
- Lack of Job Knowledge: When a person is not sufficiently trained for the job or task and its safety hazards, accidents can more readily occur.
- Age: There are more accidental deaths at age 18 than at any other age. As people age, they normally have a reduction in vision and strength and an increase in reaction time. Wisdom and a concern for the results of personal actions normally increase with age. However, the age at which these changes take place varies considerably.
- Lack of Wisdom: This is the lack of intelligence and experience to know when an action may cause an accident. “Horseplay” and practical joking have no place in a shop. There are too many hard and sharp items that you could bump into or fall on.
- Poor Attitude: How you feel about yourself and your job has much to do with a good attitude toward safety rules, housekeeping, and the wearing of safety equipment and guards.
- Drugs: The use of alcohol, street drugs, and some prescription drugs will affect reflexes, perception, coordination, and judgment.
Some of the physical factors responsible or involved in shop accidents are:
- Equipment Failure: Hazardous equipment that is poorly maintained is an accident waiting to happen.
- Time of Day: Starting and quitting times may be the most congested and dangerous periods in the shop. After lunch, some people become less attentive.
- Housekeeping: Metal pieces, hoses, cables, dirt and oil on the shop floor, and poorly stored cylinders and combustibles often are factors in shop accidents.
Most of the conditions listed are in the control of the worker. Even if you cannot control them, you should be aware of their effects on safety. Three of the most important factors in safety on the job are:
- Staying healthy in mind and body.
- Becoming well-trained in the required job or task and its possible hazards involved.
- Having a good attitude toward safety rules, equipment, and training on the job.