How do I Conduct a Health and Safety Investigation?
Assess your Investigation Procedures
Why Conduct Investigations?
Health and safety investigations determine the cause of accidents, injuries or near hits. This information can be used to identify gaps in your hazard management system to prevent the accident, or one like it, from recurring.
Investigations should address the interaction between worker and technology. This avoids the problem of blame and brings real prevention into focus. The question is not "Whose is at fault?" but rather "How can this injury and others like it be prevented in the future?”
Assigning blame is nonproductive, address the organisational issues that underlie hazards in order to improve the system NOT find fault
Reporting and investigating near-hit incidents (no injuries, no property damage) provide the organisation a consequence-free opportunity to reduce or eliminate hazards and make the workplace safer.
Who should be Involved in an Investigation?
Who Should Investigate?
Ideally, the investigation team should comprise 1-5 people
Investigators should be familiar with the tasks/circumstances surrounding the incident and should have excellent communication and interviewing skills.
Who should Not Investigate
- People who do not listen
- People who like to put words in other people’s mouths
- People who want to lay blame on individuals
How do I go About Undertaking an Investigation?
The actual procedures used in a particular investigation depend on the nature and results of the accident. In general the following steps will occur:
Set up the Investigation
- Define the scope of the investigation.
- Select the investigators, if a team is involved brief them on:
- Their role
- The scope of the investigation
- What happened and where (describe the accident)
- Events that preceded the accident
- Review any operating procedures that applied
- Who the witnesses are
- The incident scene (preferably before evidence is disturbed) - Observe/sketch/photograph/take samples
- Eye witnesses, injured person, those present directly before and after the incident - Interview/ enact/draw/document
- Existing documentation - Relevant policies/ procedures/safe work practices/training records /maintenance records/etc.
- Others who might have useful expertise or input
Determine Immediate Causes or Active Failure(s)
These are the actions/conditions immediately prior to the incident occurring:
- Actions of people
- Equipment condition
- Conditions surrounding environment
This will assist in determining whether substandard acts or substandard conditions apply
Determine Basic Cause or Latent Failure(s)
Analysis of the basic causes or latent failures relate to conditions within the workplace which may potentially have lead to an incident occurring.
Prepare and Distribute the Investigation Report
An investigation is not complete until all data are analyzed, and a final report is completed and distributed to affected parties - you may need to present interim findings prior to completion of the final report, especially when the findings are likely to be controversial.
In practice, the investigative work, data analysis, and report preparation proceed simultaneously over much of the time spent on the investigation.
Get in Touch with Jump
If you need help, or you answered no or unsure to any of the questions in the assessment tool, then Jump Business Solutions can help you. Phone us on +64 6 754 8987 or +64 27 450 5271 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and Jump will come to you, discover your needs, and develop a solution that will create real, long-term and positive change for you and your business.
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