by SFM Claims Services staff
Workplace accidents don’t “just happen,” as the saying goes. They’re caused by a series of unsafe steps or events.
For example, poor housekeeping, lack of training or unsafe equipment can all lead to injuries on the job.
The good news is that once you’ve investigated an accident and determined the cause, most of the factors that cause workplace accidents can be controlled to prevent similar incidents in the future.
How to plan for a workplace accident analysis
- Determine who should investigate workplace accidents. The person who investigates should have a basic understanding of the job functions and problem-solving skills.
Supervisors are often well-suited to investigate because they know the employees involved, understand the hazards of the job and will likely be the ones to implement corrective action.
Investigations can also be conducted by members of your safety committee, management, safety personnel, your insurer’s loss prevention representative or a third party.
- Create a written plan. Be sure to include:
- The purpose of investigating accidents—to identify causes, not place blame.
- Who is responsible for investigating.
- Which types of incidents must be investigated. (Many of the companies with the best loss prevention track records have a “we investigate all accidents” policy.)
- When, why, where and how to investigate.
- Who will review the findings and implement corrective action.
- Provide training on how to investigate. Teach the four-point approach to accident investigations to your supervisors, or whomever you’ve identified as investigators. Use SFM’s Accident Analysis Worksheet as a guide for training. It walks you through a series of questions to ask after every incident.
- Communicate your accident investigation policy. Depending on your organization, this may be a policy that should be included in your employee handbook. Let employees know what their responsibilities are in the process—such as notifying a supervisor immediately.
For more information, see Workplace Accident Analysis Part 2: The four-point approach to investigation.
Adapted from SFM’s “Accident Analysis CompTalk and worksheet”.
The information on this website is provided for educational purposes, and does not create nor continue any attorney-client relationship. The information provided is general in nature and should not be treated as legal advice concerning any particular set of facts or circumstances. Readers should consult with their attorney before acting on any information discussed on this site.