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September 1, 2020
Theories of Accident Causation Template
Theory Summary and Why
Over the years, several theories of accident causation have evolved that attempt to explain why accidents occur. Today, I would like to discuss about accident/incident theory of accident causation. This theory is an extension of human factors theory. A variety of pressures such as deadlines, peer pressure, and budget factors can lead to unsafe behavior. Overload of work, ergonomic traps or managerial error leads to human error. Incident theory of accident causation mostly happen when the management systems fail. We can talk about the management where they do not establish a comprehensive safety policy. Also, that place where employees do not receive proper orientation and are not given sufficient safety training.
Link to Accident Publication
Summary of Accident
This incident happened in a plant operated, owned and managed by Union Carbide India Limited. On 3rd December, 1984, methyl isocyanate gas was leaked form the plant which results death toll of approx. 5200 and many thousands to permanent and partial disability. It was concluded that the accident was caused by the excessive amount of water that enter the plant’s tank which caused a spike in temperature to over 212-degree Fahrenheit and ultimately increase in pressure causing the massive release of gas.
During investigation, it was reported that employees discovered initial leaked which they decided to deal after the tea break. In the next hour, the reaction in storage tank went out of control. The leak occurred after an untrained worker was ordered to wash out the pipe that had not been properly sealed, which was breach to the plant rules.
Relation Between Theory and Accident
Accident/ incident theory of accident causation refers to the human error which leads to the unsafe behavior and cause accidents. According to this theory, accidents happen when the system fails to operate such as in this case. Employee do not have any idea if the pipe was fully sealed or not because he was not given proper orientation and sufficient safety training. According to this theory, the system fails when the safety procedures such as inspection, correction, and investigation are ignored or given insufficient time. Exactly same case was with this incident. Employees were aware about water leak which they ignored and went for a tea break. Within an hour, the plant was out of control which damages the plant including the deaths of thousands.