Reasons for unsafe acts is something most Health and Safety professionals fail to follow-up in-depth.
It has been certain that over 90% of accidents in the workplace are caused directly or indirectly. It has also been established that accident are caused mostly either from unsafe act or unsafe conditions. Though we always propagate the operation zero LTI mantra, accident still happen. Consequence of accident could range from mild, medium to severe. The safety fight on site has always been from two front; to prevent accident or reduce the consequence of the accident.
These are the 3 main reasons for unsafe acts:
- I didn’t know
- I didn’t see
- I didn’t think
A worker will always say either of this 3 things. Now the questions are:
- Why didn’t he know: No training
- Why didn’t he see: Poor hazard perception, poor design, poor job organization, etc.
- Why didn’t he think: Poor hazard awareness, poor hazard perception, poor workers management, etc.
These 3 main reasons for unsafe acts stated above are the different variables which results to accidents. To tackle this unsafe acts, these variables should be considered.
We need to block these internal reasons captured by the “WHY’s”. We need to heighten hazard awareness and hazard perception through trainings, adopt safe working practices, and improve workers and management relationship.
Preventing accidents in our workplaces starts with management commitment, this is why some quarters integrate management commitment into “The Health and Safety Management system“.
Almost all unsafe acts in the workplace has management intonation. A trained worker will not say, “I didn’t know or I didn’t see nor I didn’t think”. He will be liable to safe acts.
Good management / workers relationship will look into workers personal issues and treat these issues thereby helping them concentrate at work. Good management / workers relationship will also create a platform where workers communicate their grievances, fears and challenges. This gesture by the management will not allow workers to be lost in thought while at work.
In summary, while looking at the direct cause of unsafe acts, do not forget the underlying cause which could be traced to management contribution.
Next time a worker gets involve in unsafe act, to create a lasting solution to the problem try to correct the management failures involved in the unsafe act.