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Accident Causation Theory Essay

2464 words - 10 pages

Accidents is defined as an unplanned and undesired circumstances resulting in injuries, fatalities and loss or damage of property or assets(safety.ILO, 2011). Accidents are much deeper and beyond the older clichés, accounting to bad luck or fate, almighty’s work or simply being at wrong place at wrong time. But, in todays scientific world it is neither perceived as fate nor as deity’s work but a social problem resulting from a chain of undesired events. Preventing accidents is very arduous task without knowledge of accident phenomenon and the study in the field of accident phenomenon has been very diverse but a basic question has always been raised as why does accident occur? Can there be some common pattern to it? To unravel these mysteries and predict and prevent accidents several theories and model has been postulated in the past and recent times with each having some explanatory and predictive values.

Some of the major theories are:

• Domino theory
• Human factor theory
• Accident/incident theory
• Epidemiological theory
• Systems theory
• Energy release theory
• Behavior theory
• Swiss cheese theory
• Drug and accident causation
• Management failure and accident causation

(SafetyInstituteofAustralia, 2012)

Domino theory
Heinrich’s version of Domino theory was one of the earliest proposed Domino theory on accident causation model by W.H.Heinrich in 1931. He described accident as an multifactorial chain of discrete events and presented a series of dominoes and exhibit how series of dominoes topples simultaneously when one of them tumbles down. He proposed sequence of 5 factors that would prompt the next step of toppling the dominos lined up in a row (HW Heinrich, 1980). The sequence is 1.injury caused by an 2.accident due to 3.an unsafe act of person and/or mechanical or physical hazard due to the 4.fault of person caused by their 5.ancestry and social environment. Heinrich described each of these factors (dominoes) vividly and provided a guide by removing one of the dominoes (preventive measure) the subsequent dominoes would not fall, hence eliminating and preventing injury or accident (Oakley).

Social environment and ancestry
First domino in the sequence of accident was associated with workers personality and heinrich explained how these inadmissible traits such as greed, carelessness can be passed along heredity or be acquired through social environment.

Fault of a person
Heinrich again pointed toward workers as second domino also deals with personality, as Heinrich explained that inborn or obtained character flaws such as recklessness, inconsiderate, anger, ignorance contributed towards the initiation of an accident.

Unsafe act and/or condition
Heinrich describes unsafe act and condition as a core of an accident and if prevented it is the easiest way to remedy. Unsafe acts and condition involves operation without clearance or failure to secure or warn, operating in flawed machine, using unsafe equipment, no protective...

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