Accidents do happen and accidents are unexpected. However, accidents may be avoided if conditions were already known in the first place. Catastrophes, in one hand are unexpected and unavoidable. It happens because of the existing hazards present in the environment.
To briefly describe an accident, I want to introduce a couple driving a brand new black Volvo. The traffic light is already about to turn red, but they insisted on beating it. Perpendicularly, is a 10-wheeler truck, whose driver rapidly hit the pedal.
Then, in no time, there are already two automobiles colliding and encircling each other in the intersection with blood splatters on the front and side windows. That is what you call an accident. If the couple was driving in the mountains, and unexpectedly, a storm hit the country, which caused a major landslide and damaged the car and hurt the people residing in the area.
That is what you a catastrophe. In this paper, I will be discussing to you the different classifications of accidents and catastrophes, discuss the impact of the current major threats, as well as provide strategies and management plans applied in the United Kingdom.
Nature of Accidents
The most common of accidents happen on the road, while driving a vehicle. In this section, I will be enumerating the different kinds of accidents and illustrate some real-life examples.
As mentioned earlier, one type of accident happens in the road through a collision of cars, or any motor vehicle.
A car crash may be caused by various things, like drink driving, speed driving, the road safety, the current condition of the vehicle as well as the negligence of the driver to wear a seat belt, or maybe because of the condition of the driver itself.
The driver may be too young or too old to drive; may be under the influence of drugs and alcohol; may be too tired and sleepy to drive; may have very poor eyesight and reflexes; and also may be emotionally disturbed.
There are also still different types of car crashes. Cars may hit fellow cars, hit people nearby, hit trees and posts, buildings and animals. Cars may also lose balance or lose a break, which may cause uncontrollable movements.
No matter what the reason, such accidents are common in any place, as long as people are still unable to follow simple traffic rules and proper car maintenance. Death and injury tolls are still many, despite the proliferation of more safe cars.
According to the World Health Organization, there are approximately 1.2 million who are killed because of car accidents per year, and a whopping 48 million people get injured [WHO, 2004].
The Department for Transport in Great Britain published a report on the recent road accident statistics. In 2006, there were about 14,350 casualties that happened when drinking and driving was done. That is 6 percent of the total road casualties, with 540 deaths [DFT, 2007]. It has been said in the report that the numbers decreased from 2002.
There are several factors contributing to most accidents in the road. One of the most common reports is the “failure to look properly” , with 35 percent of all accidents[DFT, 2007]. Another one is the loss of control of the driver, which is 35 percent of all fatal accidents. There are also around 16 percent who are injured or killed pedestrians, which are actually masked.
Another form of road accidents is the hit and run type. In the report, there are 11 percent of all the personal injury road accidents were caused by hit and run. Such is represented by 10 percent of all casualties.
This kind of accidents occurs during the wee hours in the morning, from midnight to 4 in the morning. It also revealed that most of the casualties, around 56 percent, were passengers with ages 20 to 29 years old.
Another nature of accident would be caused by a fire. Fire or explosions may happen in different places in uncertain time. It may happen in cars, in homes, in offices and even in any environment, like in mountains or fields.
Fire is caused by several things and is mostly on negligence. It may be caused by a simple drop of cigarette in a flammable place, or leaving the iron on, poor quality of electrical wiring and mismatch in electrical outlets.
Leaving an appliance plugged may also be a cause of fire. New appliances are also not out of the picture. Moreover, there are also cases that appliances, mostly stoves and ovens are left unattended, burning them and spreading out in the kitchen. Another surprising, yet true cause of fire accident would be children playing with matches.
In the latest report of the Collaboration for Accident Prevention and Injuries Control (CAPIC), fires in United Kingdom have been classified in four different locations: dwellings, buildings, road vehicles and outdoors [CAPIC, 2005].
A total of 90,500 fires were reported in 2004, with 47, 800 fires coming from the dwellings and 21,500 have come from the other buildings like offices and schools.
17,800 are fires in road vehicles, while 3,500 have come from other fires in outdoors. It was also reported that such numbers of accidental fires were the lowest in 11 years. Moreover, there are 508 fire-related deaths in the United Kingdom in 2004, which is actually already the lowest in 45 years.
Most of the fires reported were from chip pans fires, with 26% of the total. Moreover, with the fires 47,800 fires from the dwellings, 50% have no smoke alarms. Fires in buildings mostly occurred in private sheds and garages, as well as elderly homes and government buildings.
Another kind of accidents happens in the work place. One may think that you are already safe when you are in the office. Think again. Some businesses do not practice proper safety measures.
Some working environments are very accident prone areas, especially those who are working in construction sites. It is really very important to supply workers with ample protection while working.
An example of which is to provide hard helmets and proper boots for the engineers. Suitable outfit for the machine operators and safety goggles for chemists would not be much of a hassle. Without any proper protection, anyone is just prone to any work-related injury even if you think you are already safe.
According to the Health and Safety Executive in the United Kingdom, around 0.8 percent of 100,000 workers are experiencing fatal injury in their respective work places [HSE, 2007].
For the past years, such rate is already approaching a downward trend. Very evidently, out of the different main industries, agriculture and construction sectors have received the most number of fatal injuries among their workers. It already got 46 percent of the total work-related injuries.
Most of the time, it is due to a fall, from a certain height, which accounted around 19 percent of the total fatal injuries. Other types of work-related injuries include being struck by a falling object and or vehicle.
There are other more accidents, which are water-related and that includes drowning in pools and other injuries caused by water sports. Accidents may also happen in theme parks, which many presuppose must be safe. Also, there are also cases of food poisoning, animal attacks and even accidents caused by defective products. These must all be taken note of.
Nature of Catastrophes
Catastrophes or disasters can either be man-made or natural, which of course may impact the normal routine of everyday life. In this section of the paper, I will be identifying the different types of catastrophes and illustrate real life examples of such in the United Kingdom setting.
Natural disasters are a result of natural or environmental hazards like floods, tsunamis, landslides, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and many others.
Such disasters are of course not accountable to the people, however the impact may be lessened if proper planning and emergency management have been implemented. Such disasters will lead to the vulnerability of the different households and would later on be the cause of their misery and poverty.
Man-made disaster on one hand involves human negligence which led to a disaster. Disasters like violent crimes, riots, stampedes and even wars are obviously man-made. Environmental degradation and other structure and engineering failures are also due to the human error.
Humans make mistakes, however such mistakes are really unforgivable since it compromises the lives of the people affected. These kinds of disasters are avoidable if people just try to be more careful and vigilant in their actions.