How to Investigate a Workplace Accident

Workplace Accident

As part of your general Health and Safety procedures you should have a robust accident investigation process. As with any system, it should be documented, understood and followed every time an accident is reported, no matter how small.

The reasons are fairly obvious – if there has been any kind of accident that results in an injury and there’s a chance it could happen again, something needs to be done. If an accident occurs and nothing is done, there’s a chance your insurance company may refuse to pay out if a similar accident happens. By investigating the cause of the original problem and logging it thoroughly, you can show that you took adequate steps to mitigate the causes, thereby reducing the risk.

So what do you need to do?

Well this really comes down to the advice of your local health and safety consultant as they will understand your particular business and its needs. They’ll currently understand the risks and how H&S policy is applied, however in general, you should check the following:

The location

Investigate if there are any inherent dangers in the location of the accident. Are there any issues with the fabric of the building, the ground or any furniture? Are there problems with fixed fittings, loose tiles, jamming doors?

It should be obvious if there are problems so highlight them. If you find an issue right away, put up a sign or use yellow tape to mark off the area – make sure it’s safe straight away.

The Injured party

Interview the person who was injured and check if they were carrying out any procedures that are covered by H&S policy. Were they wearing the correct gear? Did they follow the rules?

At this point it’s very important that the interview is carried out in a way that won’t put blame on the interviewee. If they feel that what they say may get them into trouble, you may not get the truth, so ensure the interview is carried out conscientiously.

The procedures

You may have to face facts and realise that your procedures are in error. Check them thoroughly and ensure they promote safety and don’t need to be improved. If they do need to be improved, improve them in conjunction with your H&S consultant.