Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S)

Workplace Incidents

An incident is defined as “an unplanned, undesired event that hinders completion of a task and may cause injury, illness, or property damage or some combination of all three in varying degrees from minor to catastrophic(BLR®—Business & Legal Resources).

Several case studies have determined that the majority of serious workplace incidents result from the alignment of many seemingly minor or insignificant events.

The Swiss Cheese Effect

The ‘Swiss Cheese’ model [1] was designed to aid in the understanding of the complexities of undesired incidents in the workplace (with a view to mitigating their future occurrence).


Figure 1: Example of the 'Swiss Cheese' Effect (www.bestthinking.com)

Each slice of ‘swiss cheese’ has a number of ‘holes’.  A ‘hole’ may represent an active or a latent issue.  When one hole in each slice aligns with a hole in each other slice, their alignment causes a resulting undesired outcome.

How does this affect me?

Occupational Health & Safety (OHS) procedures and policies are designed to minimise the number of tasks that become latent issues. As illustrated by the ‘Swiss Cheese’ Effect, only one of these latent issues need to be effective to minimise the chance of an incident occurring.

JC Engineers have highly accredited and qualified Engineering and Compliance personnel that specialise in developing OHS documentation and undertaking investigations after-the-fact.

Contact us today to discuss your needs and request a quote - (07) 3387 0137 or email here.


[1] Reason, J.T. (2008). The Human Contribution: Unsafe Acts, Accidents and Heroic Recoveries. Surrey: Ashgate.

Brendan Nielsen