Unsafe Acts vs. Unsafe Conditions

It has been found that unsafe actions, not unsafe conditions are the root of the vast majority of occupational injuries and accidents.

  • Unsafe conditions exist all around us: Simply driving a car puts each one of us in a condition where we are vulnerable to accidents. We are surrounded by hazards that could cause harm, but most of the time we safely negotiate these hazards and arrive at our destination safely.
  • Unsafe acts: Often unsafe actions can make unsafe conditions even more dangerous.
    • For example, snow creates an unsafe condition to drive in, but that hazard is magnified by driving in the snow without slowing down or by not maintaining safe distances. The act of driving too fast and not leaving safe stopping distances makes an unsafe condition even worse.
  • Unsafe acts are linked to our behavior: How we behave (our actions) may not be related to our skill level. In other words, some of our most skilled employees might actually display some of the most dangerous behaviors. In fact, some studies have shown that the more skilled a worker becomes, the more likely they are to develop unsafe behavior patterns.
    • Poor judgment or over confidence can result in injuries or accidents.
  • Make sure to perform safe acts on any jobsite, especially when unsafe conditions are present.