What is an Accident? And How to Prevent it?

Accident Prevention

Pre-accident situation

Two important factors must be considered, namely

  1. a) The objective danger

Associated with a particular machine, system of work, hazardous substance, etc. at a particular point in time.

  1. b) Subjective perception of risk on the part of the individual

People perceive risks differently according to a number of behavioral factors, such as attitude, motivation, training, visual perception, personality, level of arousal and memory. People also make mistakes. Ergonomic design is significant in preventing human error.

The principal objectives of any accident prevention programme should be, firstly that of reducing the objective danger present through, for instance, effective standards of machinery safety and secondly, bringing about an increase in people perception of risk, through training, supervision and operation of safe systems of work

Post-accident strategies

Whilst principal efforts must to go into the implementation of proactive strategies, it is generally accepted that there will always be a need for reactive or post-accident strategies, particularly as a result of failure of the various ‘safe person’ strategies.



Feedback strategies, such as those arising from accident investigation

Improvement strategies

Prevention and control



Change of process

Controlled operation



Personal protective equipment

Health surveillance