Accident Investigation Component
An accident can be defined as any occurrence that interrupts or interferes with the orderly progress of the job and usually occurs suddenly and unexpectedly. Some accidents involve human injury. Accidents arise from a combination of unsafe acts and unsafe conditions.
The intent of an accident investigation should be to determine what basic condition or act caused the accident so corrective measures can be taken to prevent reoccurrence and not to identify the guilty party.
Accidents should be investigated as soon as possible and at least within the first 24 hours of the occurrence. The sooner the information is gathered, the more accurate the facts will be.
Accident Investigation Procedures:
- Investigations are required on all accidents, including those “near misses” not producing injuries. “Near misses” will be documented on an accident report by the supervisor(s) of the employee(s) involved and forwarded to the Safety Manager for review. “Near misses” are reviewed to determine if a recurring hazard exists. Therefore, they must be thoroughly investigated and reported. Accidents that do not produce injury have probably produced other job hindrances, such as delays, damaged material, damaged equipment, etc.
- All accidents are to be investigated and documented on the Accident Investigation Report by the Supervisor(s) of the employee(s) involved and the Safety Manger. (See Appendix F) Investigations will be conducted as soon as possible, but no later than 24 hours after the accident.
- Accident reports will be forwarded to the Safety Manager and the Human Resources Office for review. All incident reports, hazard reports, accident investigation reports and inspection checklists will be reviewed by the Safety Manager to determine if trends are occurring.
- The steps for a thorough and effective investigation include:
- Interview the employee(s) involved, if possible, to evaluate the situation and potential liability.
- Have the involved employee(s) step through the sequence of events of the accident.
- Locate, interview and get statements from any witnesses.
- Gather facts about the investigation (who, what, where, how, why).
- Evaluate any evidence found at the scene and reconstruct events.
- Take pictures or draw diagrams of the accident scene. Don’t rely on memory - accident scenes change.
- Do not disturb the accident scene until you are satisfied with the investigation.
- Before leaving the scene of the accident, warn, protect and/or repair any exposure areas to prevent another accident from occurring.
- Re-interview the involved employee(s) or witnesses, if necessary.
- Prepare a written detailed report before leaving for the day.
- Recommend corrective actions.
- Follow-up on the recommendations to ensure the corrective actions have been implemented.
- Double check the corrective action(s) to ensure they are effective.
- Once the investigation is completed, the documentation must be directed to the following appropriate people for review:
- Immediate supervisor(s) of employee(s) involved,
- Safety Manager and Human Resources
- Others, as deemed necessary by the Vice President of Finance and Administration.
- Each person in the review process is responsible for assuring thorough investigations and following up on corrective action(s) to make sure it is (they are) effective.
- Written accident investigation reports related to a specific worker’s compensation claim will be filed with the claim in the Office of Human Resources where it is available for review. The accident investigation process is documented by the Human Resources Office and will be retained for a period of 24 months or as required by law or directives.
All other investigation reports will be filed in the office of the Safety Manager and will be retained for a period of 24 months or as required by law or directives.