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Proper Accident Investigation Improves Workplace Environment

Mike GoodmanAccident investigation is an effective technique for preventing future accidents or losses. A thorough accident investigation can identify problem areas within your organization. When these problems are resolved, the result is a safer and healthier work environment.

Many supervisors make the common mistake of reporting and investigating only serious accidents. To prevent future accidents from occurring, all accidents must be reported and investigated as soon as possible whether they result in personal injury, illness, property damage, or simply near misses. This is the only effective approach when using historical accident trends to evaluate and reduce future losses.

Accident investigation should be aimed at fact-finding rather than fault-finding. If the investigation results in fault-finding, future investigations will be hampered because employees will be less likely to be forthcoming.

So here are the specific steps for conducting an accident investigation:

1. Preserve the accident scene.
2. Collect the facts.
3. Identify the sequence of events that lead to the facts.
4. Determine the causes.
5. Make specific recommendations for corrective actions and improvements.
6. Document all the information in the form of a report.

Accident reports are designed to inform management and other concerned individuals about the circumstances surrounding an accident. Then, management and ownership can make an educated decision about what action is necessary from an organizational standpoint. Management should review all accident investigations on an annual basis.

Remember, the ultimate goal of an accident investigation is to prevent future accidents and make the workplace safer.

Mike Goodman
Senior Loss Control Representative
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