Is an accident an 'incident' or a 'nonconformance?

S

samsung

#1
One of the events recently triggered a debate during our last 'Safety Committee' meeting and the point of discussion was 'should we consider an accident as an 'incident' or a non-conformance ?

Will appreciate your response.

Regards,
 
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Randy

Super Moderator
#2
It's a special kind of nonconformance unless incidents (accidents) are the norm and planned for. You still have to do everthing for an incident that you would for a nonconformance and a wee bit more. Employees must be involved in the investigation and the results of the investigation must be communicated back to relevant employees. Everything is detailed in 4.5.3, just do as it says and quit debating over nits.
 
S

samsung

#3
It's a special kind of nonconformance unless incidents (accidents) are the norm and planned for. You still have to do everthing for an incident that you would for a nonconformance and a wee bit more. Employees must be involved in the investigation and the results of the investigation must be communicated back to relevant employees. Everything is detailed in 4.5.3, just do as it says and quit debating over nits.
Yes, it's a very good point which, as a matter of fact, was the point of argument and since accidents were never planned, one group wasn't in favour of considering them as NC's. The argument was "if it's a non-conformance, what's the requirement that wasn't fulfilled."

Since we have separate documented procedures for dealing with OHS incidents as well as for other OHS nonconformances and infact what triggered the debate was the overlapping of the two when someone reported the accidents as NC's to which the workers didn't agree. One of them argued that doing so would grossly depreciate their significance and might thus lead to detraction of management's attention especially during the annual budget planning. This seems to be a valid argument particularly in view of the fact that the term 'NC' often fails to attract the level of attention 'accidents' deserve to be paid.

I'm eager to know how others get along the way.
 
#4
Yes, it's a very good point which, as a matter of fact, was the point of argument and since accidents were never planned, one group wasn't in favour of considering them as NC's. The argument was "if it's a non-conformance, what's the requirement that wasn't fulfilled."

Since we have separate documented procedures for dealing with OHS incidents as well as for other OHS nonconformances and infact what triggered the debate was the overlapping of the two when someone reported the accidents as NC's to which the workers didn't agree. One of them argued that doing so would grossly depreciate their significance and might thus lead to detraction of management's attention especially during the annual budget planning. This seems to be a valid argument particularly in view of the fact that the term 'NC' often fails to attract the level of attention 'accidents' deserve to be paid.

I'm eager to know how others get along the way.
An accident is commonly used to describe an incident which has resulted in an injury.

An incident is any unplanned event resulting in or having the potential for injury, ill health, damage or loss

Accidents are not planned ? I thought bad quality products arent planned either but we give NC to non conforming products, right ;) In the same tone, all accidents, incidents and near misses are non conformances. In addiition, you have to report all ijuries to a statutory agnecy, so its a major non conformance requiring RCA, CA and PA.

From a safety perspective, non conformance is defined as any deviation from work standards, practices, procedures, regulations, management system performance etc. that could either directly or indirectly lead to injury or illness, property damage, damage to the workplace environment, or a combination of these.
 
S

samsung

#5
An accident is commonly used to describe an incident which has resulted in an injury.

An incident is any unplanned event resulting in or having the potential for injury, ill health, damage or loss

Accidents are not planned ? I thought bad quality products arent planned either but we give NC to non conforming products, right ;) In the same tone, all accidents, incidents and near misses are non conformances. In addiition, you have to report all ijuries to a statutory agnecy, so its a major non conformance requiring RCA, CA and PA.

From a safety perspective, non conformance is defined as any deviation from work standards, practices, procedures, regulations, management system performance etc. that could either directly or indirectly lead to injury or illness, property damage, damage to the workplace environment, or a combination of these.
Yes, to a point, I agree to your above statement but such a deviation, although a Nonconforming situation, may not necessarily result into an accident. On the other hand, a recorded accident, might not have resulted from any of the perceived deviations and hence, technically, it shouldn't be an NC irrespective of the fact that the event has resulted into significant injuries (accident). Ofcourse any of the situations must be thoroughly investigated to uncover the underlying deficiencies but the question remains is in what form such 'deviations' be accounted for and reported to provide a realistic view of the occurrence ?
 
#6
Yes, to a point, I agree to your above statement but such a deviation, although a Nonconforming situation, may not necessarily result into an accident. On the other hand, a recorded accident, might not have resulted from any of the perceived deviations and hence, technically, it shouldn't be an NC irrespective of the fact that the event has resulted into significant injuries (accident). Ofcourse any of the situations must be thoroughly investigated to uncover the underlying deficiencies but the question remains is in what form such 'deviations' be accounted for and reported to provide a realistic view of the occurrence ?
If you go with the definition of ISO, a Non Conformance is non-fulfillment of a requirement. In that context, for example, if a person handling the forklift in the warehouse doesnot follow the work instruction of stacking properly, accidents could not happen. In this case, this is a non fullfillment of requirement.

Accidents do not happen automatically - it is said that for one major accident to happen, there are 300 no injury incidents, there is are 29 minor injuries and 1 major accident (study by Heinrich, 1950). Pl note that all the incidents and minor is a resultant of the drift in the practices that are often overlooked.
 
S

samsung

#7
If you go with the definition of ISO, a Non Conformance is non-fulfillment of a requirement. In that context, for example, if a person handling the forklift in the warehouse doesnot follow the work instruction of stacking properly, accidents could not happen. In this case, this is a non fullfillment of requirement.

Accidents do not happen automatically - it is said that for one major accident to happen, there are 300 no injury incidents, there is are 29 minor injuries and 1 major accident (study by Heinrich, 1950). Pl note that all the incidents and minor is a resultant of the drift in the practices that are often overlooked.
Nevertheless the accidents happen accidentally despite numerous controls and often the root causes are the ones that weren't either perceived beforehand or were beyond the control of the affected person and as such, it's very much difficult to establish the complete set of requirements against which the system could be evaluated.

Whether or not such events could be contentiously justified as nonconformances (per standard definition), the question is whether it is appropriate to equate accidents with other OHS nonconformances. If yes, how should I resolve the problem I'm currently confronted with ?
 
D

Duke Okes

#8
I would classify an accident as an incident, and which most likely was the result of a nonconformance (e.g., either process wasn't followed or it wasn't sufficiently robust).
 
S

samsung

#9
I would classify an accident as an incident, and which most likely was the result of a nonconformance (e.g., either process wasn't followed or it wasn't sufficiently robust).
It means an 'incident' (accident) is an event supposedly (or otherwise) triggered by a non-conforming state but, in itself, is not a nonconformance. So the relation between the two is that of 'cause' and 'effect'.

Randy is also correct in his explanation. Accidents can be categorized as NC's if these are planned and the fact is no body does so.

Thanks,
 

Randy

Super Moderator
#10
OK guys, don't waste time debating this, that, I think, could be or any of that other dribble related stuff.....Look at the OHSAS Standard itself for the answer. Remember, once it is stated that it will be the method to manage OHS related risk and seek overall improvement in OHS performance it is:
1) Non-Negotiable
2) All inclusive...No exclusions

1st let's look at what an INCIDENT is as defined by OHSAS 18001:2007

3.9 incident
work-related event(s) in which an injury or ill health (3.8) (regardless of severity) or fatality occurred, or could have occurred

NOTE 1 An accident is an incident which has given rise to injury, ill health or fatality.

NOTE 2 An incident where no injury, ill health, or fatality occurs may also be referred to as a “near-miss”, “near-hit”, “close call” or “dangerous occurrence”.

NOTE 3 An emergency situation (see 4.4.7) is a particular type of
incident.


2nd lets look at what we have committed to in the OHS Policy

4.2 OH&S Policy
...b)...a commitment to prevention of injury and ill health...


Having an accident/incident/injury in the workplace is in fact a failure to meet a specified requirment and committment in the policy and is a nonconformity ....failure to fulfill a requirement...

Now when it comes to INCIDENT INVESTIGATION in 4.5.3.1 we see among other things...

a) determine underlying OH&S deficiencies and other factors that might be causing or contributing to the occurrence of incidents;
b) identify the need for corrective action;


Except for an act of nature or God, depending upon how the organization likes to express this, incidents (accidents) occur by one of two reasons...

1) an unsafe condition (most of which are created by #2 below)
2) an unsafe act

Both #1 & #2 are situations that must be corrected if conformance to policy committment of "...prevent..." has any hope of being achieved.

Remember guys...in the systems approach to management conformance to elements of the system requirments are necessary to help meet conformance to other elements (Input-Activity-Output)
 
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