An accident can be defined as the final result of a series of events. It is nevertheless, not always clear exactly which event one should choose to regard as the accident. Questions commonly asked when describing an event as an accident include:- is it the fall or the injury?, is it the explosion or the ensuing deaths. When preventing accidents, people think of it put putting into place barriers between the physical event and the consequence. Examples of safety measures that people to tend to put in place after an accident has occurred include use of safety helmets, seat belts, lifeboats, ejection seats, escape routes. The absence of such a final line of defense may be the result of a structural shortcoming in the safety policy or its implementation (Drenth, et al., 2001).
When studying accidents it proves worth while to develop a general conceptual framework, so that general facts can be obtained from individual and highly variable events. Discovering such a general framework requires a cyclical process. Before one starts one has no idea what analytic structure might prove effective (Drenth, et al., 2001). Initial hypotheses about what is important need to be proposed, refined and rejected. After a number of accidents one begins to develop a vague notion of what might prove effective, by the thousandth one has acquired the necessary insights.
Therefore it calls that, when designing a defense mechanism against an accident, it is important to have suffi9cient insight into the kind of errors people make. The big challenge here is that, one can not expect to design and construct defenses such that the effects of human error will be totally eliminated. A good example with regard to this fact is no one would be expecting a qualified electrician to touch a 10kV switch gear without first checking to see if it was live (Drenth, et al., 2001).
Turn to some examples of real life situations that have indeed proved that accidents can be useful in giving an insight as to what went wrong, is the use of feedback from a car crash to access on the performance of a motor engine. A crash resulting in injury may present a possible failure or inadequacy in some component of the vehicle/road environment to protect road users from severe injury. Crashes provide feedback on system performance. As such they present opportunities for improvements and countermeasure development to prevent recurrence of similar events. It is however possible for a serious accident to occur without some prior incidents which, if investigated thoroughly, would have forewarned of such eventuality (Selby, 1998).
The performance of road systems and vehicles in regard to crash worthiness is really inherent in their design and that is, the characteristics only await the combination of circumstances to reveal their behavior. It is through diligent investigation of accidents that these latent characteristics are discovered and discerned. Good crash investigations are likened to archaeological digs implying that, the more one digs the more that is uncovered. The corollary of this is that with a poor investigation, or one that is stopped at the first obstacle struck or where one is easily satisfied with superficial explanations, little will be discovered, leaving similar events to recur over the years (Selby, 1998).
This is just one example that can be used as a case study to show how an accident can be useful in providing an insight as to what went wrong. By having such insight, it is now possible to come up with collective measures that will ensure that chances of similar accidents occurring are very minimal. Therefore I will confidently conclude this paper by saying "Accidents are not inherently bad in that they provide insights as to what went wrong. Because of this, the same type of accident should never happen again."