Accidents generally occur as a consequence of unsafe acts or unsafe conditions. Overall, the most common accidents across industries occur as the result of lack of OHS training or lack of compliance to safety protocols. The most common breaches of workplace safety processes include: incorrect manual handling of items; being struck by moving objects; lack of training or inappropriate use of machinery or tools; slips and falls. However, there are other causes of workplace accidents that contribute to high risk. For example:
- Not wearing appropriate protective clothing
- Sleep deprivation
- High risk activities involving heavy machinery
- Exposure to extreme climate or workplace environment
- Exposure to toxic chemicals and substances
- Impaired performance via drug & alcohol misuse
- And other factors.
Yet, the most serious accidents that results in severe injury or death usually occur in industries which use heavy machinery (such as manufacturing, agriculture and construction) or which involve inherently dangerous work environments (like mining and oil rigs). These “high risk” industries tend to report the causes of workplace accidents arising from*:
- Employment conditions: i.e. shifts from ‘employee miners’ to ‘contract miners’
- Reduced union influence regarding OHS
- Lack of safety and health culture
- Management or employee breaches of OHS legislation and regulations
- Lack of adequate training in OHS
- Inadequate supervision as well as the promotion of inexperienced managers.
To address OHS in your workplace, accident investigations need be thorough. By examining the whole range of potential or actual causes (in addition to safety awareness, OHS promotion and training), safety standards are significantly elevated.
A major step towards preventing and reducing workplace accidents is to identify the leading causes. However, it should be noted that the lists above are by no means exhaustive of the possible causes of workplace accidents. In this way, proper assessment by OHS professionals is highly recommended: indeed, both immediate and longer-term strategies are integral to successful OHS management.
If your workplace is concerned about workplace accidents arising through the misuse or abuse of drugs and alcohol, call CMM Technology today on (+618) 9204 2500 for an effective drug and alcohol management plan.
* Human Resource Management (Fifth Edition) p. 465