Accidents don’t just happen – or rarely. Look at the language we use when talking about accidents –
- not paying attention
- wasn’t aware
- being careless
In psychology, paying attention, being aware and caring, or being concerned, are all aspects of consciousness – being alert, or fully present. Accidents usually happen because of what is called “human error”, which is to say not using all of your mental energy for the task in hand. Being distracted, unfocused, absent minded, tired, indifferent.
A big part of risk management and hazard awareness is anticipation, projecting forward to hypotehetical scenarios and taking avoidance action, thus reducing the risk.
Another two aspects of accidents that scupper the best made plans or risk calculations are bad design and material failure. Many situations and equipment are designed without sufficient safety in mind because society is accustomed to and tolerates injuries – acceptable risk. Accidents in the home are a classic example. Equipment failure can be hard for a user to predict hence industry standards to ensure testing and acceptable failure rates. Poor maintenance increases the risk.
Children can be excused blame for a lot of the accidents they get into – it is part of their growing up to be distracted, mentally less focused and unaware of risks – they run and fall, and later drive cars to show off and too often crash.
It has to be part of their education to teach them about hazards, risks and safety – to make them aware, equip them mentally to pay attention and to care about the consequences of their actions. To for worn them of bad design, of the unpredictable and to make their world a safer place!
They must be taught to swim and to use fire safely. The hazards of fire and water cannot be avoided. Life without them would be no life at all.