An "accident" is any unplanned event that results in personal injury or property damage. Accidents are often preceded by related incidents and near misses, and are often both predictable and preventable. Causes of accidents can be identified through change analysis, job safety analysis, accident investigations, and near-miss reports. Workplace safety programs are designed to prevent accidents by improving the work environment and employee work practices. The proper use of signs or symbols to indicate and define specific hazards are essential tools for helping employees spot hazards and avoid accidents. Safety meetings also provide an excellent way to communicate safe practices to employees and prevent accidents. Most employers must keep accident records. Training employees to adopt safe practices will also help prevent accidents.
There are two basic approaches to preventing accidents: controlling the work environment or managing the attitude and behavior of employees. A successful safety program designed to prevent accidents combines both. There are numerous workplace safety rules that are designed to control or eliminate hazardous conditions that lead to accidents. It is the employer's responsibility to implement the company's safety program by assessing workplace hazards and by observing and changing unsafe work environments, equipment, and worker habits.
Accidents are often preceded by related incidents and near misses. Following are definitions suggested by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for each of these events:
- Accident. The National Safety Council defines an "accident" as an undesired event that results in personal injury or property ...