Outdoor accidents happen, and they happen for a number of reasons which can be summed up in these three categories – unsafe conditions, unsafe acts, and errors in judgement.
Before heading out on an outdoor or wilderness excursion, consider the following points while evaluating your risks and preparedness:
Poor Area Security. Your physical security to do with all things including 2 and 4 legged creatures.
Falling Objects. Unsafe environments where things may fall on you (rocks, etc.) or create a dangerous impedance.
Weather. Any weather extreme including ordinary rain requires preparation of gear, etc.
Equipment. Some equipment-gear may be inadequate, broken, or unsafe for a particular task or function.
Clothing. Proper clothes (head to toe) are essential for a given environment and it’s conditions.
Swift-Cold Water. Hypothermia can debilitate very quickly.
Animals-Plants. Some encounters may become dangerous. Avoidance and protection.
Physical. The conditions which can cause an injury or not being physically prepared.
Psychological. Being mentally prepared is essential for risk awareness and avoidance, and dealing with the mission ahead.
Inadequate Protection. Prepare and do what you need to do in order to protect yourself from the environment you’re in or will be in (clothes, gear, etc.).
Poor Instruction. Misled by bad instructions or guidance. Use judgement; double-check and re-evaluate what you’re doing; don’t assume.
Lacking Supervision. Some activities (new or dangerous, etc.) require supervision by others to minimize risk.
Unsafe Speed. Too fast or too slow may become unsafe for you or others.
Deficient Food-Drink. The wrong food, not enough, or untreated water may lead to problems.
Poor Position. Being in the wrong (dangerous) place or physically doing something improperly.
Improper Procedure. Functioning outside the bounds of a safe procedure.
ERRORS IN JUDGEMENT
Desire To Please Others. The wrong motivations may lead to operating outside your safe zone or doing something stupid.
Trying To Adhere To A Schedule. Rushing to finish ‘on-time’ often leads to mistakes and accidents. Instead, do it right.
Misconception. Misinterpretation or misunderstanding. Be sure that you perceive correctly or know the task or mission at hand.
New Or Unexpected Situation. This may lead to fear or panic – either of which may lead to accident.
Fatigue. Weakness or exhaustion are high risk for many outdoor activities. Be aware of your physical state of being.
Distraction. Some things require concentration. Even ordinary actions can involve an accident if sufficiently distracted.
Miscommunication. Not explaining it well enough, or making assumptions based on preconceived notions during conversation-instruction-communication.
Disregarding Instincts. Your gut instinct is based on your life experience. Trust it.
The categories came from the National Outdoor Leadership School, which I’ve expanded upon.