Topic area 2: Accident prevention

Estimated Duration: 1 Hour


To outline the difference between reactive and proactive means of accident prevention;

  • To provide a genera overview of the different means of accident prevention measures used in industry today;
  • To define the hierarchy of risk control.

Lecture Plan

1 Reactive/Proactive accident prevention.

  • Reactive - the traditional management approach - the prevention of repetitions of accidents that have already occurred.
  • Pro-active - the prevention of accidents before they have chance to occur.

2 Hierarchy of risk control

  • Eliminate all risks by substituting the dangerous by the less dangerous;
  • Combating risks at source by engineering controls (guards, interlocks etc.) and giving collective protective measures priority;
  • Minimising risks by the design of suitable systems of work (training, rules, procedures, supervision etc.)
  • Using personal protective equipment (PPE) and safety equipment as a last resort.
  • Risk control is more effective /more costly up the hierarchy
  • PPE reduces the severity of a potential accident rather than the likelihood, hence its position in the hierarchy.

Suggested Reading & Other Resources

  • HSE - Successful Health & Safety Management HS(G)65, HSE Books, 1995
  • HSE - ACSNI Study Group on Human Factors 3rd Report: Organising for Safety, HSE Books, 1993

Course documents

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Updated 2021-03-26