The study of unexpected injuries widely known as accidents provides some fascinating insights into human nature: it seems we have multiple strategies for depicting these events as unavoidable, inevitable, acceptable, normal, and even at times mysterious and unfathomable. However, a careful look at health, safety, and injury prevention research tells a very different story.
Casting an experienced sociological eye on the circumstances surrounding unexpected injuries, Lorne Tepperman and Nicole Meredith consider the social causes and consequences of injuries that can and should have been averted. Under what circumstances do these injuries most often take place and, a more complex question, among what types of people? Tepperman and Meredith turn to the numbers, including the estimated financial costs of unexpected injuries and the top three causes of these injuries
worldwide. They go on to review the evolution of interdisciplinary research on accidents, considering, among other pressing questions, whether there is such a thing as an accident-prone personality. Some surprising insights follow, including the manipulation of the concept of accident-proneness to
target specific groups in the workplace. Informing many of these discussions is Merediths experience with the various injuries that remain common among elite ballet dancers, ranging from the mundane and expected, to the career altering. Chapters consider the most common contexts or hot spots for accidents: in the home, during leisure activities, at work, and on the road. Later chapters consider the factors that keep some people safe from unexpected injury, as well as those variables that
heighten risk. And, finally, how do we best address the human circumstances that lead to accidents? There are many highly effective solutions, some of them surprisingly simple.
This eye-opening look at a problem that is both significant and poorly understood reveals that we all have an interest in averting unexpected injuries and deaths, and that task involves a change in perspective, careful research, and effective policy implementation.