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Substandard Acts - leading to unwanted Events 

 Substandard acts - direct causes of unwanted events leading to loss.

 

Substandard acts may lead to an accident, incident or other type of unwanted event. These substandard acts could be done by various people at various levels in the organization; close to the unwanted event or further upstream. By operational personnel, by management or staff.

 

Within the context of the simple 2 D model above we are mainly referring to acts by operational personnel. But do not forget that the substandard act at operational level may have its roots in lack of proper action higher up in the organization; management and supervision allowing work to be done in a substandard way or allowing substandard conditions to exist by taking no action to correct. Staff personnel not providing training, buying the wrong equipment, etc. or managerial personnel not making sure that staff personnel and lower supervision do what needs to be done so operational people can carry out their work properly and without mistakes, errors, substandard acts, etc. These very important aspects come under "job factors" under "basic causes" indicating that, in practice, there is hardly a line between direct and basic causes of events. 

 

 

One of the main functions of management is to control loss

To close the gap between "practice" and "theory"

Between "substandard" how it is done and "standard" how it should be done

 

 

Substandard ACTS

 

Such as:

  • Operating without authority   
  • Failure to warn   
  • Failure to secure or to make safe   
  • Operating at improper speed   
  • Rendering safety devices inoperative   
  • Using of defective equipment   
  • Improper use of otherwise safe equipment   
  • Servicing equipment in operation   
  • Not following proper work instructions or rules   
  • Not using or improper use of protective equipment  
  • Not using proper equipment
  • Improper loading or stacking   
  • Improper placement   
  • Improper lifting   
  • Taking up improper position for task   
  • Games/horseplay    
  • Attention distracted   
  • Other    

Substandard acts may exist because (i) there is no "standard way" if doing things, (ii) there is not initial training on how to carry out critical tasks, (iii) there are no regular observations or discussions to see if the work can still be done according to the procedure, (iv) the standard way is not being updated, (v) substandard work practices are being tolerated by supervision and management,  (vi) carrying out work according to the standard way of doing things is considered "for sissies", etcetera.

 

Substandard acts can be found during investigation of unwanted events as indicated in your accident or unwanted event protocol and leading to remedial actions which may include revision of work procedures. 

 

Observation programs may reveal substandard acts or they may be found during normal procedures such as work permits or Last Minute Risk Assessment (LMRA).

 

Substandard acts may also be considered incident or accident imaging asking the "what if" questions.

  

NEXT PAGE is Substandard Conditions

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