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Toolbox Tips #1 (Part 6b) - The Concepts of Incident Causation

Kevin Stretton - Friday, March 04, 2016

Part 6b:          Incident Causation Chronology – A Social Perspective


These ideas can now be diagrammatically expressed to look at the human & social perspectives of incident causation. It will be important to remember that social morals & pressures can influence a wide range of people in society, including engineers and managers who design work systems.









1.    Social factors:-

a.    Ignorance

b.    Recklessness

c.    Stubbornness

d.    The environment of peer pressure may influence the thinking of all employees, executives, managers & supervisors and even extend to interfering with their willingness to learn about safety.


2.    Fault of Person:-

a.    Excitability

b.    Inconsiderate behaviours

c.    Ignoring safety instructions

d.    Nervousness

e.    These ideas represent proximate reasons for committing unsafe acts.


3.    Chemical, Mechanical, Physical or ‘Unsafe Act’ Hazards:-

a.    Using hazardous substances when safer alternatives are available

b.    Standing under suspended loads

c.    Unguarded chains, gears, moving parts & pulleys

d.    All of the above contribute directly to incidents occurring.


4.    Incident (the event):-

Events such as persons falling off ladders or being struck by flying objects are typical examples that cause injury.


5.    Injury (outcome or the end result):-

Fractures, lacerations & fatalities are examples of the observed results directly linked to incidents.


This approach to incident causation differs significantly to an engineering approach which we’ll look at in Part 7 when the two models are combined.
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