A Tool for Safety Officers Investigating " simple" Accidents

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    Most workplace accidents that happen in enterprises are simple and seldom result in serious injuries. Very often these kinds of workplace accidents are not investigated, and if they are, then the investigation is very brief, with comments such as that it was the victim’s own fault or just an unfortunate situation which could not be helped. Most prevention analysis and investigation methods focus on high risks, such as explosion, fire, lack of containment for chemicals, etc. In the industrial world, such risks do give rise to disasters, albeit very seldom. Nevertheless, the fact is that simpler accidents normally caused by apparent banalities occur much more frequently and with a higher rate of fatalities, disablements and other serious injuries than the ostensibly most dangerous kinds of accidents. In 1999 a practical tool for use by safety officers was developed; this tool is based on the investigation methods applied in major accidents, but comprises a simpler and more user-friendly presentation. The tool involves three steps: Mapping the facts, analysing the events, and developing preventive solutions. Practical application of the tool has shown that it affords managers and workers a heightened insight into the cause of accidents, including those that seemed to be unavoidable, and that simple workplace accidents always have root causes on which preventive action can be focused. The problem is however that making a proper analysis is difficult and requires appropriate training, even in cases where the accidents seem to be very simple.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalSafety Science
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


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