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Mishap Causes
Naval Safety Supervisor - Military manual on safety practices
Extreme Temperatures
HUMAN  ERROR Human error causes an  alarmingly  high  number of  mishaps.  Between  50  and  75  percent  of  mishap investigations  conclude  that  the  primary  cause  of  the mishap  was  human  error.  Human  error  findings consider the human involvement before, during, and after the mishap. We can reduce the number of mishaps by learning to identify and control the human factors that cause mishaps. Human error is part of nearly every mishap. Human  error  includes  the  actions  of  all  personnel involved  in  the  mishap.  It  includes  those  personnel  who may have maintained or repaired equipment or even the worker at the factory where a part was manufactured. Human error involves both physical and mental factors, such as the following: Ergonomics  (design  of  the  workplace) Physical  strength  and  condition  of  the  individual Physical  stresses  and  the  body’s  subsequent responses Mental  factors,  including  the  person’s  attitude; behavioral factors; ability to retain and assimilate training;  external  mental  stresses,  such  as  inter- personal relationships; and mental illnesses All  of  us  mentally  process  information  we  receive. Factors   such   as   personal   experiences,   emotions, knowledge,  motivation,  and  attitudes  influence  how  we interpret this information. They also cause us to respond in various ways to different situations. When a mishap occurs, we carefully examine each of these factors. Each one can cause the best trained and most skilled worker to make a wrong decision or response. ERGONOMICS Ergonomics refers to the technology involved in helping people physically adjust to their workplace. It is also  called  biomechanics  or  the  man-machine  interface. Basically,  ergonomics  concerns  the  design  of  a workplace, space, or process to minimize stresses on the body and to maximize production. Ergonomics became important with the development of production lines that required  constant,  repetitive  motions. A workbench that is too high or too low can cause fatigue. Poor lighting can cause confusion. Emergency switches that are out of reach can impair a person from controlling  them.  All  of  these  work  area  designs  place stress on the body that could contribute to human error. Controls that an operator cannot reach quickly and easily are examples of poor design. Other examples are emergency   controls   protected   by   cumbersome interlocks and displays that are difficult to read and interpret. Poor  functional  layout  within  a  space  causes inefficient  operations  and  maintenance  difficulties, which breed jury-rigged shortcuts. When investigating a mishap, we must look at the work area in which the mishap  occurred. TEMPORARY  PHYSICAL ILLNESSES Temporary physical illnesses, such as colds, flu, dizzy spells, heat stress, and nausea, affect our ability to work   safely.   These   disorders   can   cause   physical impairments that can contribute to mishaps. They can also  disrupt  concentration,  mental  alertness,  memory, and  reasoning  ability. PHYSICAL IMPAIRMENTS Physical  impairments,  such  as  back  injuries  or hernias,  can  make  people  susceptible  to  mishaps.  The weakened   physical   condition   accompanying   such defects can impair strength, stamina, and agility. Mishaps  also  can  stem  from  two  other  types  of physical  impairment—visual  and  hearing.  Good  vision is  important  to  every  job.  A  common  visual  impairment such as faulty depth perception can cause mishaps such as tripping or falling.   Hearing impairments can cause mishaps  when  persons  cannot  understand  audible communications and signals. ALCOHOL Alcohol is a chemical depressant. It acts as a general anesthetic for those parts of the brain which suppress, control, and inhibit thoughts, feelings, and actions. Typical   effects   of   alcohol   consumption   include impaired judgment, unrealistic confidence, and slowed coordination  and  performance.  Such  effects  bring  about risk-taking  behavior  associated  with  unsafe  acts  and mishaps. DRUG ABUSE Drug abuse causes many mishaps. Some people die as a result of a drug overdose or respiratory depression caused  by  barbiturate  intoxication.  Sailors  high  on amphetamines  and  barbiturates  sometimes  fall 3-2

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