09/11/19

Accident Causes and Prevention

Originally published 10/24/2019

Accidents on construction sites generally spur questions like, “What happened?” or “How did it happen?” But accidents don’t just happen. They can almost always be traced back to an unsafe condition, an unsafe act or a combination of both. To eliminate accidents, we must eliminate unsafe conditions and acts.

Unsafe conditions are usually created by:

  • Poor housekeeping;
  • Improper storage;
  • Defective or damaged equipment;
  • Improper maintenance;
  • Removing guards from machinery and, in some rare cases,
  • Unsafe procedures.

Unsafe conditions can be eliminated if crews regularly inspect the worksite and equipment, identify any hazards that exist and correct them.

Although unsafe conditions can lead to accidents, most safety experts agree that the majority of accidents are caused by unsafe acts. These are careless things that people do that are most often the result of poor habits, taking short cuts and even disregarding safety policies and procedures.

Examples of unsafe acts include:

  • Reaching into equipment or machinery while it is running;
  • Backing equipment without looking behind the equipment or using a spotter;
  • Not inspecting tools and equipment before use;
  • Using damaged tools or equipment or
  • Indulging in horseplay on the job.

Remember, because all accidents are caused by an unsafe condition or act, it is possible to prevent them. Do a thorough safety audit on your jobsite. Correct all unsafe conditions and report all unsafe acts.

If an accident does occur, do a safety investigation – not simply to find fault or place blame, but to find out what needs to be corrected so that future accidents can be prevented.

Most companies have safety rules to prevent unsafe acts. Practice them. Eventually, safety will become a habit – a habit that could save a life.

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