Accidents: Classification, Causes and Costs

Accidents are a common feature in industry particularly in the developing world. In fact some industries such as the mining industry are well known for accidents as evidenced by the Chilean Miners accident.

Accidents result in losses to the workers and their families, the industry, as well as the nations. One thing is evident, a concerted effort must be made to reduce the number and the severity of accidents occurring worldwide since a majority of accidents are preventable.

Factories Act of 1987 deals with the registration of factories, factory workers and professionals exposed to occupational hazards, the safety of workers and penalties for any breach of its provisions, notification of accidents and industrial diseases while the Employees’ Compensation Act of 2011 deals with compensation and penalties.

Terms and Definitions

The ILO defines an accident is an incident which has given rise to injury, ill health or fatality. It has also been defined by the WHO as an unpremeditated event resulting in recognizable damage and as an occurrence in a sequence of events which usually produces unintended injury, death or property damage.

Accidents do not just happen they occur as a result of unsafe acts or unsafe conditions or both. Prevention of accidents requires cooperation of all members of the entire organization.

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An incident is a work-related event(s) in which an injury or ill health (regardless of severity) or fatality occurred, or could have occurred.

An incident where no injury, ill health, or fatality occurs may also be referred to as a “near-miss”, “near-hit”, “close call” or “dangerous occurrence”.

An emergency situation is a particular type of incident.

Classification of Accidents

Accidents may be classified based on the degree of danger to life and property.

It may be divided into four categories

Minor: No loss of life

Moderate: Injury but no loss of life and property

Major: Loss of life

Disaster: extensive loss of life/ property

Principal-cause and effect

Fire and Explosions

Electrical Accidents

Chemical Accidents and Explosions

Accidents with machines, plant, tools

Falling Objects on the body

Falling of persons in pits or from heights

Accidents from civil works

Human-made accidents

Natural disasters

According to their place of occurrence

Road Traffic Accidents

Domestic accidents including drowning, burns , poisoning, falls, injuries, bites and injuries

Industrial accidents ;these are further classified based on the industry involved such as agricultural accidents, fishing/trawler accidents, mining accidents, construction accidents, quarry accidents, aviation accidents, factory accidents e.t.c

Accidents: Classification, Causes and Costs

Railway accidents

Violence including trauma, homicide, suicide and war

Causes of Accidents

The causes of accidents are multi-factorial and are grouped under two main headings; Human factors and Environmental Factors.

Human factors

Human factors have been adjudged to contribute to 85% of all accidents and include:

Physical: the physical capability of the worker may be inadequate for the job e.g. visual acuity, hearing

Physiological:

Sex – females have less accidents than men

Age – younger people and elderly people have more accidents

Time – accidents are more common as the day end

Experience – less experienced workers are more prone to accidents

Working hours – longer working hours are usually associated with more accidents

Psychological – mental factors such as carelessness, inattentiveness, overconfidence, ignorance, emotional stress, lack of knowledge accident proneness.

Environmental Factors

Mechanical failure

These are factors such as temperature, poor illumination, humidity, noise and unsafe machines

Acts of nature: weather conditions such as hurricanes, floods

Costs of Industrial Accidents

These may be;

Costs to the worker

Direct costs- Costs of treatment, Morbidity, Disability, Mortality Indirect costs- psychological stress, loss of livelihood

Costs to the organization

Direct costs – Medical costs, Costs of rehabilitation, Compensation costs, Fines by regulatory authorities, Legal costs, Loss of trained manpower, absenteeism, disruption of production schedule

IndirectCosts – Poor public perception, Stake holder engagements such as strikes by unions, Blockades by surrounding communities

Costs to family

Direct costs -Loss of family members, loss of livelihood indirect costs- stress to care giver, loss of income to care giver

Costs tothe community/nation

Direct costs- loss of trained manpower, pressure on medical facilities Accident Prevention

Studies have shown that as much as 98 % of accidents are preventable.

Principles of Accident prevention

Adequate pre-placement examination

Adequate job training

Continuing education

Ensuring safe working environment

Establishing a safety department under a competent safety engineer

Period surveys/ risk assessment to identify hazards

Careful reporting, maintenance of records, review and publication

In conclusion, it is evident that a concerted effort must be made to reduce the number and the severity of accidents occurring worldwide since a majority of these accidents are preventable.

An accident is an incident which has given rise to injury, ill health or fatality. Accidents do not just happen they occur as a result of unsafe acts or unsafe conditions or both.

Read Also : Water and Wastewater Management Complete Guide

Accidents may be classified based on the degree of danger to life and property, principal-cause and effect, according to their place of occurrence.

The causes of accidents are multi-factoral and are grouped under two main headings human factors and environmental factors.

Costs of Industrial Accidents may be costs to the worker, costs to the organization, costs to the family, costs to the community/ nation. Studies have shown that as much as 98 % of accidents are preventable.

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Benadine Nonye

An Agric. Consultant & a Writer. - National Diploma in Agricultural Technology - Bachelor's Degree in Agricultural Science - Master's Degree in Science Education... Visit My Websites On: TheAgripedia.com - For Scientific Research Based Agricultural Knowledge and Innovations. Agric4profits.com - For Practical Agricultural Knowledge and Natural Health Benefits. WealthinWastes.com - For Proper Waste Management and Recycling Practices. Join Me On: Twitter: @benadinenonye - Instagram: benadinenonye - LinkedIn: benadinenonye - YouTube: Agric4ProfitsTV - Pinterest: BenadineNonye4u - Facebook: BenadineNonye

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