ACCIDENT INVESTIGATION – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Accidents happen. It’s a phrase people say all the time. What people don’t say all the time is how to investigate accidents once they’ve occurred.
The trainers at A to Z Engineering Services, LLC, works hard to keep you safe with our wide range of courses in corporate safety training and employee safety training. However, in the event of an accident, we want you to be as prepared as possible for the inevitable investigation.
At the Core
Contrary to what people might think, accident investigations are not about finding out whose fault it is or assigning blame. The purpose of an accident investigation is to uncover what caused the problem so that supervisors can take actions to make sure it does not happen again.
Even if accidents do not result in injury or property damage an investigation should still occur for this reason. Knowing the cause allows supervisors to make adjustments to better ensure the future safety of their employees and workspace.
Other Reasons to Hold an Investigation
• Meet Any Legal Requirements
• Process Workers’ Compensation Claims
• Determine the Financial Cost of an Accident
• Assess Compliance of Safety Regulations
People who investigate accidents should have backgrounds in the proper investigative techniques, as well as accident causation. Just as importantly, investigators should also have a solid understanding of the work processes, procedures, and people involved in the situation being investigated.
Keep in mind that some areas have requirements about the specific types of people who can run investigations. For example: management only, management and labor force together, outside expert, government employee, etc.
In the best interest of the company, it can be extremely helpful to have a supervisor on the investigation team because they know the most about the people, work environment, and/or equipment involved in the accident. Additionally, if a company supervisor is a part of the investigatory team then immediate corrective action can be taken.
Steps in an Investigation
Here are some of the basic steps involved in an accident investigation:
• Examine the Accident Site
• Take Photos Before Anything is Moved
• Preserve Any Evidence
• Prepare Notes for Photos & Evidence
• Identify All Witnesses
• Interview All Witnesses
Dealing with Witnesses
In many cases, witnesses may be your best source of information regarding an accident. So they must be handled swiftly and with great care. However, interviewing witnesses can be one of the hardest components of an accident investigation.
Because of the importance and delicacy involved with witness interviews, our recommendations are that you:
• Hold interviews as soon as possible
• Keep witnesses separate prior to/during interviews
• Put the witness at ease; then let them talk
• Emphasize that this isn’t about assigning blame, but finding fact
• If the witness approves, record the interview
• Take notes during the interview
• Repeat their statement to make sure you have it correct
Contact Us Today
To learn more about accident investigations, or to prevent them via employee safety training courses or corporate safety training, please contact us today. The trainers at A to Z Engineering Services, LLC, is committed to helping you build a safer, accident-free work environment.