What is an unsafe condition?

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An unsafe condition means the existence of a mechanical, physical, chemical, or environmental condition or situation which may cause a hazard or accident. The unsafe condition may be the sole accident cause or one of several causes.

The unsafe conditions can be rectified, repaired, or made safe mostly by engineering controls. An unsafe condition is created by an unsafe act of a person or by any agencies or due to failure of any material, structure, situation, or conditions, etc.

Observation for unsafe working conditions should include basic techniques of look, listen, smell, and feel (LLSF) to detect the unusual conditions of situation, position, noise, vibration, odor, temperature, pressure, etc.

Examples of Unsafe Condition:

  • Unguarded Machines
  • Presence of toxic gases
  • Presence of flammable gases
  • Poor Housekeeping
  • Presence of poisonous materials Slippery or damaged working floor
  • Oxygen Deficiency
  • Improperly guarded machinery
  • Loose electrical connections
  • Unearthed Electrical Appliances
  • Poor ventilation
  • Improper stacking of materials
  • Defective measuring instruments
  • Damaged Tools
  • Defective materials
  • Inadequate illumination
  • Narrow road
  • Oil on floor
  • Excessive noise
  • Damaged warning system.

How to Prevent unsafe conditions:

  • Safeguarding of machines/equipment
  • Suitable and safe design and construction
  • The safe arrangement of materials, process, and method of work
  • Suitable safety devices
  • Adequate and suitable Ventilation
  • Adequate and suitable illumination
  • Proper personal protective equipment
  •  Good housekeeping.

Observance of unsafe condition:

Observance of unsafe conditions includes many areas such as proper lighting, ventilation, housekeeping, floors, platforms, handrails, toe guards, machine guards, tanks, vessels and pipelines, safety fittings and devices, electrical hazards, fire-prone condition, gaseous and dust exposures, noise, vibration, heat or atomic radiation, loading, unloading, and transportation, etc.

Such unsafe conditions are due to non-provision, non-maintenance, poor maintenance, poor supervision, lack of training, improper design and layout of plant & machinery, poor lighting, poor ventilation, absence of guards and safety devices, failure of safety devices, equipment, or tools, unsafe structure, poor housekeeping, fire-prone area, sources of ignition, static electricity, slippery floor, high noise, vibration, radiation, etc.

FAQs for the unsafe condition:

How to report unsafe working conditions?

When you noticed the unsafe working conditions simply inform your supervisor or manager about the unsafe working condition and they will definitely take immediate action and correct it.
If they are taking it lightly and no action is taken after reporting about the unsafe condition, then you call OSHA and report unsafe working conditions or any health violations to file a complaint. In many cases, they will investigate and inspect the workplace.

When should be unsafe conditions be reported?

Before the accident occurred or when you first noticed the unsafe working condition.

Who to report the unsafe working condition?

An employer can report the unsafe working condition to the supervisor or manager or to the head office. If no action is taken after reporting about the unsafe working condition, then the employee can call OSHA and file a complaint.

What is the difference between unsafe acts and unsafe conditions?

Unsafe acts:
An unsafe act is a human error or personal mistake by which there is a chance of accident, injury, property loss, or harm to the environment and the unsafe act can increase the probability of an accident.
1. Failure to wear PPE.
2. Using hands instead of tolls and tackles.
3. Lack of knowledge, etc.
Unsafe condition:
An unsafe condition means the existence of a mechanical, physical, chemical, or environmental condition or situation which may cause a hazard or accident. The unsafe condition must be rectified and repaired.
1. Unguarded machine.
2. Poor housekeeping.
3. Presence of flammable gasses.
4. Presence of toxic gasses, etc.

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