A Guide to Performing an Accident Investigation

If a worksite incident happens, a supervisor is going to need to investigate it for Workers’ Compensation purposes. Management needs to be especially diligent when investigating a workplace accident, whether it’s an injury, fatality or a harmless near-miss. Recognizing these situations properly helps improve hazardous situations for the future. That’s why it’s so important to know how to properly perform an accident investigation.

If an investigation focuses on identifying and correcting root causes instead of placing fault of blame, it’ll be that much more productive to the workplace, recommends the Occupational Hazard and Safety Administration (OSHA). Knowing the steps is essential, and these are the most important steps to an accident investigation.

  1. Gather information. Start with getting a brief rundown of what happened through the eyes of witnesses and employees directly involved in the accident. The endgame here is to get enough information to not only understand what happened, but to start inferring what to do next.
  2. Search for and establish facts. Start looking around. Examine the scene of the incident with a good eye. Anything you find will help you determine the cause of what happened. Look for dents, cracks, scrapes or splits in equipment; tire tracks or footprints; spills or leaks; scattered or broken parts. These are just some of the things to look out for. On top of that, make sure you’re taking pictures and videos. This is the best form of evidence you can have.
  3. Establish essential contributing factors. Contributing factors include human behavior, design factors, systems and procedures, as well as environmental factors. Human behavior deals with recklessness while design factors deals with workplace layout, equipment and maintenance. Systems and procedures factors have to do with the lack and inadequacy of systems and procedures.
  4. Find root causes. With an accident, there’s always more than one cause. Don’t head for a single cause theory. Most likely, that simply won’t be the case. Look for the underlying issues as well as the core problem. For example, if someone falls, you have to look beyond what’s obvious. Look for other possible causes like bad lighting or if the employee was carrying something that might’ve been too heavy, causing them to fall over due to the block in their vision. Or maybe there was a trip hazard left out by another employee. Whatever the case, it’s good to think outside of the box for a solution.
  5. Determine corrective actions. Once it comes to light what happened and why, it’s time to determine how to fix the problem, that way further accidents can be intervened. When thinking about this, come up with a practical, permanent solution to your problem, not just a temporary fix.
  6. Implement corrective actions. Whatever corrective actions you previously decided on should go into place now. Follow up to make sure that the entire mitigation was successful on both ends, that way you can start thinking about workers’ compensation for your employees.

About Haughn & Associates

Founded by Michael Haughn in 1986, Haughn & Associates is a full-service, family-owned, independent insurance agency based out of Dublin, Ohio. H&A strives to provide the best possible price and unique insurance solutions across a myriad of industries, including construction, IT, Habitation & Commercial Property, Agriculture, and Engineering. Devoted to providing the best of business insurance, life and disability insurance, personal insurance, employee benefits, and bonds, H&A is proof that success lies in long-standing client relations and satisfaction. To learn more about how H&A can be of service to you, contact us at (877) 802-2278.