From: Allen Niemi <anniemi**At_Symbol_Here**MTU.EDU>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] C&EN Safety Zone blog: When is something an accident?
Date: Wed, 15 Jun 2016 10:35:05 -0400
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Message-ID: CAN0bzO7x-4RJmsWhKRq3VurT=BEhCffPCXLxQRgZhuHhqhn+tA**At_Symbol_Here**
In-Reply-To <003401d1c70e$f9061510$eb123f30$**At_Symbol_Here**>

I'm going to take the other side on this issue. Every child born in the USA since George Washington's day understands that you will not be held accountable for something bad that happened during one of your activities if you can convince your parent(s) that it was just an "accident" and, therefore, you were not at fault. That is the common, ingrained, working definition of the word accident. I still see it come up on the section of our incident report form where you are asked for corrective actions -- "NA, it was just an accident". Most of our employees have learned the proper definition of the word accident only as a result of constant reinforcement and training. Nobody here gets away with implying that an accident was unavoidable on an injury report (or an incident without injury report) -- this will result in immediate feedback from the "safety guy". Before we became aggressive about this educational process an accident was unavoidable in the eyes of the average employee. We have not called our reports "accident reports" for decades, if ever, and I sincerely believe we should stop calling traffic crashes accidents. It's not about semantics, it's about raising awareness.


On Wed, Jun 15, 2016 at 10:05 AM, Zack Mansdorf <mansdorfz**At_Symbol_Here**> wrote:

Very well said Mike. Everyone understands what accident means. Only the "safety gurus" that are politically correct have any idea of what an incident means (lawn sprinkler does not work?).

Let's quit the obtuse definitions and replace it with the common usage.


S.Z. Mansdorf, Ph.D., CIH, CSP, QEP

Center for Safety & Health Sustainability

Allen Niemi, PhD
Occupational Safety and Health Services
Room 322 Lakeshore Center
Michigan Technological University
Phone: 906-487-2118
Fax: 906-487-3048

Previous post   |  Top of Page   |   Next post

The content of this page reflects the personal opinion(s) of the author(s) only, not the American Chemical Society, ILPI, Safety Emporium, or any other party. Use of any information on this page is at the reader's own risk. Unauthorized reproduction of these materials is prohibited. Send questions/comments about the archive to
The maintenance and hosting of the DCHAS-L archive is provided through the generous support of Safety Emporium.