Unsafe and careless acts by employees and insecure work conditions are majorly responsible for occupation-related accidents worldwide causing grievous injuries and casualties.

Unsafe act and unsafe work conditions can be defined in several ways keeping in view of nature of industries and working places. One can find several such definitions on the internet and books.

Students of occupational health and safety and also those intend to make career out of workplace safety may find information on workplace safety from trusted sources useful, reliable and educative.

So, if you are a serious learner and looking for details and guidance on “Unsafe act and unsafe conditions“, this post is for you!

Even though technology has automated several critical and dangerous functions carried by workers.

“Over 80 per cent of industrial accidents worldwide can be attributed, either wholly or partially, to human errors.”

There can be various reasons for accidents in workplaces. Also, behind every accident there can be a reason which can be either due to unsafe act by workers or unsafe condition.

Let us understand this concept through an example:

Let us assume a road accident which happened in a city during the day time.

Do you think that this accident had happened without any reason?

The answer is big NO!

The accident would have happened due to unsafe driving, unsafe road condition, or improper vehicle condition. There can also be some natural reasons behind such road accidents but they are too little to compare with accidents caused by human errors and unsafe roads.


It is the unsafe human activities that are behind majority of accidents which are happening on roads, houses and at workplaces.

In the workplace accidents, unsafe conditions can be created due to faulty equipments, exposure to dangerous conditions without protection, not following basic safety procedures and existence of unhealthy conditions.

Let us move into detailed explanation with few examples.

It is not difficult to differentiate between unsafe act and unsafe condition. But if you are an aspiring student of HSE and looking for a successful career in health and safety, then you must know more about unsafe act and unsafe working condition which can lead to major accidents.

For those who are new and unfamiliar with workplace safety, it is not difficult to understand the basic difference between unsafe act and unsafe condition and need to have safe and secure work condition.


Unsafe Act can be defined as any activity by workers which are not as per the prescribed safety standard or practice and which can cause or likely to cause accidents or risk for self or others at workplace, damage equipments and bring losses in terms of reputations and revenue to employer. Such human acts can be due to callous attitude of workers or lack of awareness on safety measures or not following safe work practices.

For example:

We have mentioned earlier about the incident of road accident. Let us imagine the accident involved by driving a bike. There are quite a few reasons we can conclude for the cause of accidents.

The bike can be faulty. Here there are two reasons for this. One, the bike may not be maintained well by the owner and two, there can be some mechanical failure due to which the bike became faulty.

Not having competency and training to drive the bike

Not following traffic rules

Driving beyond the safe speed limit

Not using helmet

Turning without decreasing the speed or without giving warning or indication

Parking at unauthorized or unstable surface

Driving under inebriated condition

Driving bike when not feeling well

Similarly, if you want to know about unsafe acts in workplaces, we have plenty to share:

Some of the reasons are:

Handling a machine without competency or training

Operating a faulty machine

Lack of awareness on safe practices: for example, removing safety guard while operating the machine.

Operating machines beyond theirprescribed speed limits or work hours.

Scant regard to safety procedures and practices.


In general, unsafe activities can lead to unsafe conditions. What are unsafe conditions? Let us understand the concept and definition.

Any condition or situation (electrical, chemical, biological, physical, mechanical and environmental) which increases the risks and dangers of accidents can be called as unsafe conditions.

For example, in work places, any situation or condition that can cause,

Injury to workers

Damage to machineryand cause huge financial loss

Affect the environment and cause health impact

Now, with the same bike accident example, we shall derive the reasons for “unsafe conditions”.

Bike with faulty brake

No rear mirror

Low air pressure in both the tyres

Faulty roads (road with potholes, no demarcation of lines at crossings, uneven surface, etc)

Improper lightings

Faulty traffic lights

Adverse weather conditions

Blind corners, slippery surfaces

Lack of speed governors

Indicators not working

Fault due to other vehicles (accidental leakage of oil on roads)

Similarly, there can be several examples for unsafe work conditions.

Falling of heavy items from cranes

Damaged electrical wires

Faulty machine or equipment without proper protective guard

Oil or chemical spillage

Slippery and unsteady surfaces

Faulty or lack of emergency escape route

Unhygienic and unsafe work environments

Improper storage of inflammable goods

Faulty or expired fire extinguishers

No safety training

Machines produce excessive noise

Inadequate or excessive lighting

Non availability of safety gadgets, equipment or protective wears.

Non compliance to safety standards and regulations


Hence, we can conclude that unsafe acts are related to the way people handle their tasks. It can be avoided by equipping workers with adequate safety knowledge and skills to manage workplace safety and hazards. Workers need to be trained regularly and update about the new safety challenges and involve them in making the workplace safe and secure for all.

Unsafe conditions are majorly attributed to owners of the workplaces. It can be avoided by following all necessary safety regulations and standards, making workers adhere safe practices, provide protective environment for all the workers, maintain machines and safety gadgets and above all, providing safe and secure work environments where workers feel safe and happy.

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