What does the “Zero Accidents” term describe? Why is it vital to a company? Simply put, it strives for “No Accidents”, but achieving this goal is more complicated when we consider the obstacles to workplace safety.
An organization must identify the causes of injury and other “Loss Potentials”. What is a Loss Potential? It refers to any unplanned event with an unplanned outcome, which could be something the company or employees did not foresee and the results were not within their control. A loss potential does not necessarily require an accident to take place.
American industrial safety pioneer, H.W. Heinrich theorized that out of every 300 Near Miss Incidents (no injury), there will still be 29 minor accidents and 1 severe injury or fatality. This holds true even through today. He warned that if a company only reacts to events which cause physical injury, a contractor will be oblivious or blind sighted to 90+% of all accidents occurring in the workplace. By focusing on Heinrich’s 300 Near Miss Incidents, Loss Potentials and accidents can reduced.
By assessing Loss Potentials, two primary areas are defined, Unsafe conditions, and Unsafe Acts. About 10% of all accidents are caused by Unsafe Conditions on the job site, which leaves 90% of all incidents a result of Unsafe Acts on the job. Both of these areas of concern are cornerstones of a Safety Plan.
A Safety Plan has common symptoms which could include violations of regulations, Near Miss Incidents, Accidents, and Injuries. These symptoms occur when people make choices every day which affect themselves and others.
Choices consider one’s experience and acceptable risk. What may be an acceptable risk to one person will be different to another. For example, in scenarios in which an employee works high off the ground regularly, this will be an acceptable risk. To someone afraid of heights, they would not find this acceptable. There are endless examples to illustrate the differences between employees’ acceptable risk. One may not be able to work in a confined space while the other feels exposed in large open spaces. Good and bad choices are made from these differences in experience and thinking. To make the best choices, employees must be trained and have the correct knowledge. Therefore, safety training is important and necessary. If workers believe a job site is not safe, they are likely to take chances that could harm their safety and that of others. If their beliefs become expectations, employees will take more responsibility of their choices and aid those they work with.