This toolbox talk topic is incident factors. Incidents on construction projects cause too many painful injuries and claim far too many lives. Our primary concern when we discuss the factors or causes behind an accident is to find a way to prevent a recurrence. The cause of an incident can be found in two areas — Unsafe Acts and Unsafe Conditions.

As a construction worker you control the first cause, Unsafe Acts.

A worker uses equipment that is defective or damaged, or they may use good equipment in a careless or unsafe manner. Other examples of unsafe acts include disregarding warning signs, failure to wear (PPE) a hard hat, smoking near flammables or explosives, working too close to power lines, handling chemicals or other hazardous materials improperly, putting your body or any part of it onto or into shafts or openings and lifting material incorrectly. (Just a short reminder — always lift with your legs while keeping your back straight.)

The second incident factor or cause is Unsafe Conditions which can be found on many construction sites. Examples include inadequate or improperly installed guard rails or a lack of any guarding at all which most certainly will lead to an accident. Insufficient illumination, poor ventilation, insufficient barricading around excavations or openings, too few fire extinguishers available, containers that are not labelled, careless disposal of waste or excess material – these are just a few of many unsafe conditions that may be caused by the Principal Contractor and Contractors.

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