When an accident happens at your workplace, it is critical to conduct an accident investigation to determine the root cause of the events that led to the accident or injury. The point of the investigation should never be to assign blame, but rather to uncover the factors that led to accident so you can take corrective action to prevent it from happening again.
The steps to conducting an effective accident investigation are:
- Provide first aid and/or medical care to the injured persons and take action to prevent further injury or damage. This is the first priority.
- Report the accident as required by your company's policies.
- Investigate the accident as soon as possible after it occurs. This allows you to observe the conditions as they were at the time of the accident, prevents the disturbance of evidence, and allows you to identify witnesses. You will need to gather physical evidence, take photographs, and interview witnesses to understand the chain of events that led to the accident.
- Identify the causes of the accident. Note that there are usually multiple causes.
- Report your findings in a written report. in preparing the report, it is helpful to prepare step-by-step account or timeline working back from the moment of the accident, listing all possible causes at each step. This account can be helpful in preparing the final report, which should clearly explain the evidence for your conclusions.
- Develop a plan for corrective action to prevent the accident from happening again. These actions should be specific, constructive, address root causes of the accident, and address the causes described in the report.
- Implement your corrective action plan. It is helpful to set a deadline for implementation of corrective actions and there should be monitoring in place to ensure that they are completed.
- Follow up to evaluate the effectiveness of the corrective actions taken.
- Make adjustments as needed to continue to improve.