Safety Awakening – “Some Accidents Are Not Preventable”

July 25, 2014 No Comments

“Some Accidents Are Not Preventable”

For years, many of us have heard an old saying that proclaims “all accidents are preventable”.  As safety professionals we’d like to believe that we control our own destiny and that accidents are indeed preventable.

However, in my 40-plus year career, I have run into a number of accidents (and work related illnesses) that I considered to be “non-preventable”.  I feel the old saying  “all accidents are preventable” is simply wrong!

Here are a few examples of accidents I have personally investigated that I felt were not preventable:

  • an employee was working outside in the yard on a beautiful summer day and was struck by lightning
  • a retail clerk developed a compensable case of varicose veins from having to stand while on the job
  • an employee who was just denied vacation leave suddenly developed an idiopathic back injury
  • a supervisor was seriously hurt when an employee he had just fired came back to work drunk and beat him up
  • an employee came to work high on drugs, tripped over his own feet and fell injuring his elbow
  • a salesman hurt his shoulder lifting a very small case out of the trunk of a car
  • an employee who was sensitized to a chemical while in the Navy became sick working around very low levels (10 times less than the PEL and TLV) of that chemical at my factory.
  • two employees were hurt in an auto accident while driving to work (workers compensation in that state considered it to be a work related injury)


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