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The Human Factor: Why Workers Have Accidents

Julie Copeland

Posted by
CEO


Understanding workplace safety and accident prevention really all comes down to context. Even though it might be somewhat easy to blame human error for the root cause of most workplace accidents, that’s really just the beginning. With further investigation, you’re likely to uncover many factors that contribute workplace accidents.

The human factor, while not the cause of workplace accidents, is the key to finding out how workers’ actions are influenced by other aspects of the workplace. When you evaluate interactions between all the elements of the workplace -- people, workplaces and management systems -- it makes understanding the worker’s decision at the time of the accident more clear.

Once you know what guides workers’ decisions and actions, you have the ability to put into place preventative measures to keep similar workplace accidents from happening again.
 

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The Interaction Of Human Factors

Let’s examine the interaction of three human factors: people, workplaces and management. Any reasonable number of the elements listed under each individual human factor has the potential to contribute to workplace accidents, creating a vast range of reasons for why accidents occur in the workplace. 

People:

Individual Factors

  • Knowledge
  • Expectations
  • Attention
  • Goals
  • Health
  • Fatigue
  • Age
  • Culture
  • Body Size
  • Strength
  • Stress, etc. 

Workplaces:

Workplace Design

  • Facility layout
  • Workstation configuration
  • Accessibility, etc.

Equipment Design

  • Displays
  • Controls
  • Interface
  • Feedback
  • Warning systems
  • Ease of use, etc.

Work Environment

  • Noise
  • Vibration
  • Lighting
  • Temperature
  • Chemical exposure, etc. 

Management:

Systems Organizations Management

  • Organizations of work
  • Policies
  • Management decisions, etc.

Job Design

  • Work schedule
  • Workload
  • Task design
  • Job requirements, etc.

Information Transfer

  • Communication (written or oral)
  • Instructions
  • Labels
  • Signs, etc.


As you may now see, there are a lot of factors that, when added together, lead workers to act in ways that make sense to them based on the resources and knowledge available. These factors are portions of a larger whole that is the workplace system.

It can be difficult to manage and account for all of these factors in your injury prevention efforts, and often companies end up taking a reactive approach. By relying on month-end reporting and other lagging indicators, you can see what happened after the fact but cannot actively work to prevent injuries.

But what if you could take a proactive approach to injury prevention? New technology from Arbill, utilizes predictive analytics and gives you the ability to identify at-risk individuals and departments throughout your organization.  

To see how you can reduce injuries and the associated costs call 800-523-5367 or click here to schedule a demo of Arbill's solution, Vantage Predictive Analytics.

Topics: workplace safety, workplace safety motivation, workplace safety tips

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