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Abdelhamid, T. and Everett, J. (2000). ”Identifying Root Causes of Construction Accidents.” Summary

In: Business and Management

Submitted By MoeQ
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In their article "Identifying Root Causes of Construction Accidents," the authors, Tariq S. Abdelhamid and John G. Everett (2000) presents the development of an Accident Root Causes Tracing Model (ARCTM) that is capable of answering why the accident occurred by identifying possible root causes so that more effective methods for preventing accident can be identified and applied by labor and management. Three examples are examined to explain the use of the model, understand construction site’s accidents and identify what prevention efforts should be performed.
To identify the root causes of accidents, the existing construction accident investigation procedures should be combined with ARCTM which adopts both Contemporary Accident Causation Models and Human Error Theories. Then, ARCTM should be adopted as a tool to prevent the construction accidents. 1) Accident Causation Models
Accident causation models are used to improve the industrial accident prevention programs. These models as Domino Theory (Heinrich 1959) and Multiple Causation Model (Petersen 1971) indicate that the root causes of accidents relate to both people and management systems.

2) Human Error Theories
Human Error Theories can be realized in both Behavior Models as Accident Proneness Theory (Accident 1983) and Human Factor Models as Ferrel Theory (Ferrel 1977). Behavior models show that the main cause of accidents are workers. While the human factors models affirm that the main cause of accidents is human error.

3) ARCTM: Construction Model
ARCTM is the outcome of developing and integrating number of the previously mentioned models. This model pictures the main three root causes of accidents: unsafe conditions, worker response to unsafe conditions, and worker unsafe acts.
Accident Investigations Using ARCTM
If accident occurs, ARCTM should be used by investigator after using present accident investigation and reporting tool. ARCTM is organized in a flowchart structure shows a series of questions and possible answers that help the investigator determine what the root causes are and how it developed.
Application Example
This example is an accident involving a worker bruised his elbow as a result of a limb flipping from a brush chipper he was using. According to the investigator, the causes of the accident were “Took unsafe position”, “Unsafe condition (brusher too fast),” and “Other factor (unsafe brush chipper)”, also he suggested replacing the brush chipper. The worker mention that he sent a request and management had promised to replace the brush chipper. According to ARCTM, there was problem in management procedures because unsafe condition existed and the worker identified unsafe condition but continued his work due to management pressure.
In addition to using ARCTM with present investigation process and finding the person responsible of the accident, it will aid finding the cause of the accident and how to limit reoccur it. Also, ARCTM highlights that prevention efforts can be planned by considering worker training, worker attitude, and management procedures.

Figure. Accident Root Causes Tracing Model

Note: In the flow chart, the questions and possible answers will help to determine how the root cause developed. Each question will indicate the existence of an issue that needs to be addressed or corrected to prevent accident reoccurrence. These issues are a worker training problem, a worker attitude problem, and a management procedures problem.

Abdelhamid, T. and Everett, J. (2000). ”Identifying Root Causes of Construction Accidents.” J. Constr. Eng. Manage., 126(1), 52–60.

Journal of Construction Engineering and Management,Volume 126, Issue 1 (January 2000)
Submitted: 27 October 1998
Published: 01 January 2000…...

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