b. Accident Prevention. Accidents cannot occur unless some person acts unsafely or is exposed to a
mechanical or physical hazard. This means that it is better to locate and correct unsafe conditions and
unsafe acts before they cause an accident, rather than to let an accident occur and then determine such
conditions or acts as having caused an injury or death or avoidable loss of time. Don't wait for an
accident to happen. Take steps to prevent it. We should eliminate all hazards--hazardous conditions and
hazardous procedures or techniques--before they cause an accident.
c. Steps to Safety.
(1) Know about hazards. All hazards can be classified as unsafe acts (personnel) or unsafe
conditions (mechanical or physical), or in some cases a combination of unsafe acts and unsafe
conditions. An unsafe act might be an act of commission, such as cleaning a machine in
motion, using tools or machines for purposes for which they were not intended, or
maintaining such equipment improperly. On the other hand, an unsafe act might be an act of
omission, such as failing to tie down a load on a truck, not fastening a seat belt, or not
bothering to use the guard provided on a machine. Unsafe conditions include oily or slippery
floors; congested aisles; protruding objects; presence of gases, fumes, dangerous radiations of
various types (electromagnetic, X-ray, nuclear or atomic, etc.); badly worn vehicle or
machinery components such as tires, brakes, bearings, insulation on wiring, imbalanced
moving parts, etc.--anything that can cause falls. One toxic hazard recently brought
especially to the attention of all Army personnel is the gas given off from overheated
selenium rectifiers. (Selenium and its compounds are toxic, being physiologically related to
arsenic compounds.) In the long run, virtually all hazards are traceable to the human element,
in other words, some unsafe personnel factor. Always ask the question: Why does the hazard
exist? Here are some reasons:
(a) Person(s) may not be convinced that a certain practice is unsafe.
(b) A better or safer way of doing a particular task may not be known to the doer or his
(c) The safe way of doing a certain job, task, or operation may be rather inconvenient or
(d) The safe technique may be somewhat slower, more time consuming than a short-cut
(e) The safe practice may entail a more difficult or complicated procedure.
(f) Person(s) may be downright reckless.
(g) Person(s) may be disobedient.
(h) Person(s) may act wrongly through force of habit instead of by deliberate and careful