Can you really prevent an accident? Of course you can! Throughout our lives we’re always reminded to expect the unexpected, this can also be applied to accidents, since we wouldn’t expect to trip over or make a simple mistake that causes a problem. So, by monitoring the risk that something may happen, could such accidents be easily prevented? Yes!

Risk assessment

One of the most important procedures in health and safety is the risk assessment. To carry out a risk assessment, each and every aspect of the work processes must be thoroughly examined. The process should cover equipment used, following through to the impact on other people. By doing so it allows a clear picture to be painted, showing where any significant risks are, and what the control measures are that can be suitably selected and implemented. On top of this, risk assessments are also a legal requirement, and so should be used as a starting point to a safer working environment.

The vast amount of people will know that if an accident occurs, they should log it in a designated accident report book. This is not the case for all accidents however, as if an employee cuts himself or herself on something or gets a small bruise, it may seem too minor to warrant being logged. By having each employee log even the smallest of incidents, it will become apparent how effective the systems in place are. It is much more beneficial to notice a trend in minor incidents, which can be investigated in order to put some control measures in place before it escalates into more serious incidents.

Human error and environment

The majority of accidents that occur can be ruled as being caused by an unsafe condition or act, which can then be linked back to human error. By monitoring the behaviour of each of the employees, these conditions or acts can be identified.

A simple way of preventing accidents is to look at the environment, taking note of the placement and layout of fittings and access. Assessing whether or not it is easy for the employees to move around the area, and what would happen if there happened to be a change in level and if that had caused a problem in the past. The standard of maintenance should be taken into account, as keeping steps, flooring, doors, handrails and windows well maintained will decrease the chance that an accident will occur.

Seasonal challenges

The weather can bring about a variety of problems that could potentially lead to an accident, such as icy conditions in the winter months. In bad weather, minor accidents tend to be more common, with slips, falls and trips being the most likely. Outside areas such as car parks and footpaths should be kept clear of both leaves and ice, with grit being commonly used to combat icy surfaces.