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Accidents Don't Just Happen

07.21.15   Mark A. Halloway, OHST | More by this Author

Accidents Don't Just Happen

When an accident occurs, whether the result is a fatality or a broken coffee cup or anything in between, someone is bound to ask, "How did it happen?" The answer is, "It didn’t happen. It was caused." It is usually possible to trace the cause back to a person, or several people, who were lax in doing the associated job or tasks. Either something was done that shouldn’t have been done or something that should have been done wasn’t done.

For example, you fall on the stairs at home and break a leg. That accident didn’t just happen. There wasn’t a gremlin jinxing you or lurking in the shadows to trip you. There was at least one tangible cause. The odds are that the fall was your own fault. Maybe you were in a hurry and took the stairs faster than usual. Maybe you were carrying an awkward load that put you off balance and kept you from holding the stair rail. Maybe you forgot to turn on the light over the staircase. There are numerous other "maybes" that could contribute and boil down to the cause of the fall being your own fault. On the other hand, maybe there was someone else involved. Maybe one of your kids left a toy on the step. Maybe whoever first noticed the staircase light bulb was burnt out failed to replace the bulb.

Accidents on the job don’t "just happen," either. The actions or inactions of one or more people cause them.People can cause accidents to happen, but they can also prevent them from happening. That’s why SME has established safety rules, developed safe work practices, and implemented various safety-related policies and programs. Work practices, rules, training, and equipment are helpful, but only you can prevent an accident from occurring. It is up to you to obey safety rules, follow policies and procedures set by your workplace, and wear required safety gear.

Practicing safe behavior is your own greatest safeguard. Remember that mantra when you’re tempted to take a shortcut or break a safety rule "just this once" or "just for a minute." That one-minute could be exactly when an accident doesn’t "just happen" but rather is caused to happen

TAGS: Safety

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