The antecedents and development of unsafety

Smith, Simon and Sherratt, Fred and Oswald, David (2017) The antecedents and development of unsafety. Proceedings of the ICE - Management, Procurement and Law, 170 (2). pp. 59-67. ISSN 1751-4312

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The concepts of unsafe acts and unsafe conditions within incident and accident reporting processes are well established, and both play a part in safety, as seen in highly complex accident-causation models. Nevertheless, a systematic understanding of the development of unsafety to its manifestation as incidents is yet to emerge. Drawing on a large data set of nearly 4000 safety observation reports from a large infrastructure construction project, investigation of the way in which incidents are categorised is explored, and then, through content analysis of a purposive sample of individual reports, the reality of how the acts and conditions develop, combine and interrelate is evaluated. The findings reveal significant inconsistency in the application of the categorisations of ‘act’ or ‘condition’ and the utilisation of the process in apportioning individual blame through ‘unsafe acts’. It can be suggested that, within a construction context, there are relatively few precursors that produce unsafe acts or conditions, and focusing on these in practice would provide greater insights, enhancing utility without adding significant complexity. Further understanding of how the development of unsafety takes place would enable management to use reporting data, such as safety observation reports, better in the development and implementation of focused interventions.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: health and safety, safety and hazards, knowledge management
Faculty: ARCHIVED Faculty of Science & Technology (until September 2018)
Depositing User: Fred Sherratt
Date Deposited: 22 May 2017 11:26
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2021 18:59

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