When an accident occurs in the workplace, it is important to investigate the facts surrounding the incident. There are bound to be many contributing factors and it is important to isolate them and control them in the future. The ultimate goal of incident investigation is to gather facts, no blame, and eliminate the hazard to prevent future accidents.
To help determine the root cause of accidents and to meet OSHA requirements, an accident form should be completed as soon as possible following an accident. This is when it is time to put on your detective’s hat and develop good, accurate investigative skills.
Here are some tips to help you successfully investigate your accident:
1. Document everything in writing and stick to the facts. Keep emotions out of the report.
2. Secure the scene.
3. Use photographs, videos, drawing or measurements to best document the scene.
4. Conduct all interviews separately and confidentially.
5. Keep the questions consistent. Ask the interviewees open ended questions like, “Describe in your own words …”
6. Try to reenact the events leading up to the incident.
7. Communicate recommendations and commit to corrective action.
With these simple procedures, the root cause of the accident will be much easier to determine. Help the employee understand that this process is not to place blame, but to correct mistakes and prevent future accidents from occurring.