March 2017 – Why Accidents Occur

By John Howell,

Every accident is caused by a breakdown in one of four areas: the worker, the tools used, the materials used, or the methods used. Often there is a breakdown in at least two areas; one being the worker and the other coming from one of the three other areas. The accident’s cause usually results from an unsafe act or an unsafe condition. Today we will review some types of unsafe acts, the results from, and unsafe conditions.

Guide for Discussion

Types of Unsafe Acts:

Operating a tool or some equipment without authority.

Working at an unsafe speed.

Using unsafe or defective equipment or using equipment in an unsafe manner.

Disconnecting safety devices.

Unsafe unloading, placing or mixing materials.

Assuming an unsafe position or posture.

Working on moving equipment.

Horseplay or distractions; taking shortcuts.

Failure to wear and use personal protective equipment.

Unsafe Acts Result From:

An improper attitude.

Lack of knowledge or skills.

Reduced mental or physical capacities.

Unsafe Conditions:

Improper guarding.

Defective equipment or materials.

Unsafe working procedures.

Improper housekeeping.

Poor lighting or ventilation.

Improper personal attire (Poor dress).

No or improper evaluation of site conditions.

Additional Discussion Notes

Remember: With the issuance of OSHA citations, many of the routine hazards on job sites thirty years ago have been corrected. For example, machines are now significantly protected with guards. However, the bottom line is still the use by each worker of their common sense by avoiding contact with unsafe conditions and by avoiding unsafe acts.

NOTE: Always promote a discussion on any of the topics covered in the Toolbox Talks. Should any question arise that you cannot answer, don’t hesitate to contact your Employer.


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