Items of Importance in an Accident Investigation
1st August 2020 by Natalie Salem
Over the past few months, we have made many recommendations to clients on instituting an Accident Investigation program. They have had accidents/injuries and never investigated them for the root cause and how to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
During an accident investigation, you want to ensure you take note of the 5 W’s – Who, What, Where, When, Why as well as How it occurred. Some other items you should take into consideration for your accident investigation are as follows:
- Use the same form for each investigation, this will help to ensure the same information is documented during each investigation and you don’t forget to look for or ask for details.
- Ensure a good survey of the location and what equipment, in general, is available. i.e. ladder fall, was the correct ladder being used, and was there one available in the area?
- Take pictures. Pictures should be taken to document the area in which the incident occurred, the equipment (if any), any signs that are posted, the footwear of those involved (i.e. slip, trip, and fall incident), and any other detail that may point to the root cause of the incident.
- Contact OSHA – if you have an amputation, loss of an eye, in-patient hospitalization, or heart attack they must be reported to OSHA within 24 hours and if there is a death, it must be reported within 8 hours of learning of the employee’s demise.
- Witness statements – eyewitness statements are very important in accident investigations. Ensure you ask each witness the same questions and ensure you have their correct contact information should there be any follow-up questions.
- Get a statement from the injured employees when time allows.
As you document the accidents/incidents that occur, you can note any trends that can occur month to month, or year to year, based on the accident investigations. From those trends, you can reevaluate your training programs, written programs, and other administrative or engineering controls that may be in place to prevent accidents and injuries.
Hopefully from these items, you can decrease the number of accidents and incidents that occur.