#36 Safety Awareness

Safety awareness is the key to preventing accidents. What causes accidents? Why do accidents occur? A lot of people think that accidents are random acts that strike like lighting and never in the same place twice. Many studies and investigations of the actual causes of accidents clearly show that they are the result of two or more uncontrolled work-related risks meeting head-on. The greater the risks, the greater the chance of an accident happening. Typical contributors such as poor lighting, loose or exposed wires, slippery floors, poor housekeeping, or simply taking shortcuts and doing things in a hurry, without taking the proper precautions, will conspire to cause the inevitable accident.


“It was an accident” seems to describe an innocent enough event, but in fact, the factors that caused the accident to happen can actually make the accident “predictable”. Just as a better understanding of the behavior of “O” rings in cold weather, may well have prevented the Challenger space shuttle disaster, a better awareness of the safety factors at work may well substantially reduce the number of accidents in the workplace.


It is vital to obey the safety rules and procedures, they have been introduced precisely for the reason that accidents can cause injury and suffering, lost time and higher production costs – do not risk “bending” the rules! Be sure to teach new workers how to do the job safely, 40% of all accidents involve workers during their first year of service – while they are most likely to be unaware of all the dangers.


Personal protective equipment is a factor, the safe use of power tools, care around energy sources and machinery, careful use of sharp hand tools – these are all well known sources of accidents. The human factors, untrained or inexperienced workers and/or unprofessional attitudes to the safety factor all take their toll. Safety awareness means making a commitment, taking responsibility, understanding the dangers, realizing that 95% of all accidents are unsafe acts that definitely can be prevented.