An approach to accident investigation
1. Who should investigate
Only people with the appropriate skills and experience should investigate accidents.
If there was serious harm or the potential for it, and there is a likelihood of a recurrence, a group approach to investigation could be justified. It will bring a range of skills and perspectives to bear.
2. Gather all the facts
What happened? Interview witnesses and describe events in detail, using any photos, diagrams or other exhibits that may be appropriate.
Has the prescribed accident report form been completed and OSH, or any other agencies been informed?
Be sure you understand the sequence of events fully before any analysis takes place.
3. Identify all the hazards involved
Identify all the hazards involved. Consider:
- Equipment, materials, etc.
- Work practices and procedures
- The work environment
- Health issues
Are any hazards significant, i.e. likely to cause serious harm?
4. Assess the hazard controls in place
What controls were in place, and why didn't they work?
What is needed?
Is there a need to train or inform employees?
5. Decide on future action
Describe fully what needs to be done to prevent further accidents or incidents.
Who should do what, and by when?
6. Inform all those affected
Inform everyone who needs to know, not only those directly involved.
This is likely to involve circulating your report, or a summary of its findings.
7. Follow up
There must be checks to ensure that recommended changes have been made and results achieved.
This relies on measures being in place to ensure people are accountable for their actions, or lack of actions.
Download a copy of OSH's accident investigation form.