Accidents happen. Some environments are more accident prone than others, so it’s necessary that workers in those conditions are given proper safety training to minimize the danger to themselves and their coworkers.
To determine if an environment is being kept in the safest condition it can be, and if everyone is following the proper safety procedures, it’s important that any accidents that do happen undergo an investigation to find the root cause.
When accidents happen, it’s important to know why. Even when the reason seems obvious, the real cause may be more complicated.
Accident investigations are not performed in order to place blame or get someone in trouble. They are an integral part of ensuring safety training is adequate and that what is learned in training is able to be carried out on the job. The goal is to prevent anyone from being injured in the same way again.
Investigations are also often done in a near-miss situation – when someone could have been injured under slightly different circumstances. This could be an accident waiting to happen, and requires investigation to ensure that it doesn’t.
What are the steps that need to be followed when an accident happens?
- 1. Administer first aid to anyone who has been injured
- 2. Call medical personnel
- 3. Notify supervisors or managers if they are not already there
- 4. Secure or block off the area of the accident until it can be investigated
When an investigation begins, an investigator will need to speak to employees or managers who are familiar with the accident site or equipment that was being used. Even if they weren’t present when the accident happened, they may have valuable information about events leading up to the accident.
Investigators will be looking for several things to help them determine the root cause of an accident:
- Faulty, ill-maintained, or lack of appropriate equipment
- Poor or not enough training
- Absence of appropriate policies & procedures
Any one of these, or a combination of them could create a chain of events that leads to an accident where someone is injured. This root cause analysis is a crucial part of maintaining and improving safety in the workplace, and it’s important that all employees work together to help investigators.
Again, the goal of an investigation is never to place blame. Safety is the top priority.
MARCOM’s video on Accident Investigation is one of the most effective and efficient ways to get employees the training that they need, in a classroom or individually through their desktop or tablet computer.
Watch a one-minute preview of our safety training video “Accident Investigation” here: