We need to consider and gain a better understanding of what the definition of an accident in the mining industry might be.
Accident: An accident is commonly used to describe an incident which has resulted in an injury.
Incident: An incident is any unplanned event resulting in or having the potential for injury, ill health, damage or loss
Is an accident an 'incident' or a 'non-conformance?
Accidents are never planned – they are rather sudden unforeseen events or incident. All accidents, incidents and near misses are described as non -conformances.
What is a non-conformance?
From a safety perspective, non -conformance is defined as any deviation from work standards, practices, procedures, regulations, management system performance etc. that could either directly or indirectly lead to injury or illness, property damage, damage to the workplace environment, or a combination of these.
In terms of the definition of ISO, a Non Conformance is non-fulfilment of a requirement. In that context, for example, if a person handling the forklift in the warehouse does not follow the work instruction of stacking properly, accidents could not happen. In this case, this is a non fulfilment of requirement.
How do accidents happen?
Accidents do not happen automatically - it is said that for one major accident to happen, there are 300 no injury incidents, there are 29 minor injuries and 1 major accident (study by Heinrich, 1950).
Nevertheless the accidents happen accidentally despite numerous controls and often the root causes are the ones that weren't either perceived beforehand or were beyond the control of the affected person and as such, it's very much difficult to establish the complete set of requirements against which the system could be evaluated.
Too Many Excuses – Too Many Accidents
Consider this statistic: 80 out of every 100 accidents are someone's fault, usually the person involved in the incident. Unsafe acts cause four times as many accidents and injuries as unsafe conditions.
Accidents occur for many reasons. Unfortunately, too many employees and supervisors tend to look for "things,” or excuses to blame the accident on, instead of looking for the root cause of the accident – which usually points directly at the unsafe acts of people.
We would like to identify those actions that are mostly to blame for accidents. Consider the possible accident-causing excuses below.
Have you been guilty of any of these attitudes or behaviours?
- Taking Shortcuts
Every day we take actions to hopefully make our work faster and more efficient. However, make sure these time savers don’t risk your own safety, or that of others. Shortcuts that reduce your safety on the job are not shortcuts, but a recipe for injury or damage.
- Being Overconfident Confidence is a good thing
Overconfidence is too much of a good thing. Being overconfident can lead to the "It'll never happen to me" attitude, which can quickly put you in harm’s way.
- Starting a Task with Incomplete Instructions
To do the job safely and right the first time you need complete information. Ask questions if you need to. You’ll be more likely to do the job right, on time and without injury or damage to your environment. It isn't dumb to ask questions; it's dumb not to.
- Poor Housekeeping
A quick look at your site’s housekeeping usually provides a good indicator of quality, production and safety. Poor housekeeping not only creates all types of hazards, but sends a bad message about your work and your company. Practice good housekeeping. Your job will be safer and more productive as well.
- Ignoring Procedures
Thankfully, the individuals that ignore or purposely break SHER rules are few and far between. But not only are you breaking company rules, and may be disciplined, but it’s just a matter of time before that “accident” occurs. If you’re one of these individuals – now is a good time to change your ways.
- Mental Distractions from Work
Having a bad day at home and worrying about it at work is a hazardous combination. Dropping your mental guard can pull your focus away from safe work procedures. Don't become a statistic because you took your eyes off the machine "just for a minute."
- Failure to Pre-Plan the Work
You’ve heard the saying “Plan Your Work and then Work Your Plan.” The saying works. Well planned work doesn’t usually result in accidents. Always plan your work – and include safety in that plan.