Also found in: Medical, Financial.
a branch of labor protection comprising a system of organizational and technical measures to deal with health and safety hazards arising from production processes. The implementation of these measures, as well as the development and use of equipment designed to ensure safety, is governed by existing standards, regulations, codes, and instruction manuals.
Organizational measures for accident prevention include programs of instruction for workers on safe work methods and on the use of the safety devices prescribed by standards of industrial hygiene. They also encompass the development and introduction of regulations pertaining to heavy labor and to work performed under hazardous or difficult conditions.
The technical measures used in accident prevention are based on certain regulations and norms. For example, specifications for the dimensions and layout of equipment take into account the area and capacity of workrooms and the spacing of equipment required to create a comfortable and safe working environment; parametrical standards set forth guidelines for the safe operation of equipment; and design standards determine optimal dimensions, qualities of materials, and design procedures. A basic technical measure is the incorporation of psychological, anatomical, and physiological factors in designing plants and equipment. For example, machine controls must be arranged so as to be readily accessible to the operator; the operation of the controls must require neither large effort nor a repetition of steps; and during the operation of machines there must be no emission of sparks or dust. A common safety measure is the use of railings and protective covers. Electronic devices, photoelectric cells, and automatic safety devices connected kinematically, pneumatically, electrically, or electromagnetically to operating units are often used. These devices include safety valves, lift stops, and limit switches in machinery used in handling. Safety devices that can be used only once, fuses in electric circuits, and shear pins in mechanical joints are also used for creating safe working conditions.
An improvement in safety is achieved by using backup safety devices, for example, dual braking systems in automobiles and lifting machinery (hand and foot brakes) and water gauges in steam boilers. Certain categories of work are not left to a person working singly; a second person must be present for safety reasons. For example, a single person is not permitted to do work in the double bottom of a ship, and two workers must be present for work in bunkers and elevators, with one entering and the other remaining outside to be available for help. Remote control, wherein an operator can monitor a process from a distance, is highly effective in carrying out dangerous and harmful work. Another safety method involves the use of light signals and sound alarms for work in dangerous areas; the device is activated by, for example, an increase in temperature or the emission of dangerous substances. Such devices usually operate automatically and warn of imminent danger.
Signs setting forth weight limits and warning of high voltages and the possible escape of gas or steam are also part of accident prevention. Quality control and equipment testing, both during manufacture and while in use, serve to prevent operational breakdowns. The most dangerous types of equipment, such as pressure vessels and lifting machinery, are under the state inspectorate. Humidity, temperature, air purity, noise level, effects of radiation and emissions, and the presence of electric and magnetic fields are monitored systematically.
In accordance with regulations pertaining to a given industry, all workers must use individual safety equipment, such as protective clothing and footwear, safety belts, and goggles. In the USSR, management is responsible for accident prevention, with control exercised by the trade unions.
In the USSR, safety methods and procedures and equipment for accident prevention are developed at the institutes of labor protection of the All-Union Central Council of Trade Unions, in subdepartments of institutions of higher education, and at research institutes under various government departments. Accident prevention is closely associated with another division of labor protection, namely, industrial hygiene. Thus, in developing safety equipment and implementing safety measures, consideration is given to providing comfortable working conditions and preventing any effects deleterious to health. Integrated use of all safety methods can make for safer work and fewer accidents. In the USSR, a system of occupational safety standards is in effect.
In the USSR and other socialist countries, considerable funds are allocated each year for implementing procedures and introducing equipment for accident prevention. Achievements in this area have been closely related to technological progress and to the comprehensive mechanization and automation of production that have been designed to make work easier, more comfortable, and safer. In capitalist countries, regulations on accident prevention are determined by the company or industry, and are not subject to state supervision. Demands for safer working conditions and for the adoption and observation of laws on labor protection figure prominently in the struggle of workers for their rights.
REFERENCESZagorskii, F. N. Kratkie ocherki iz istorii tekhniki bezopasnosti v Rossii, part 1. Leningrad, 1955.
Vlasov, A. F. Osnovy tekhniki bezopasnosti, 2nd ed. [Moscow, 1961.]
Vlasov, A. F. Preduprezhdenie proizvodstvennogo travmatizma. Moscow, 1973.
GOST 12.0.001–74: Sistema standartov bezopasnosti truda: Osnovnye polozheniia.
Handbook of Accident Prevention. 4th ed. Chicago, 1970.
F. N. ZAGORSKII