The first thing to consider whenever someone is injured in your workplace is to make sure that the employee receives the proper first-aid or medical attention necessary. It is also important to make sure that everyone involved understands that the basis of the investigation is not to determine who is at fault; but rather to forestall future incidents. Once the injured person involved has received appropriate medical attention and everyone involved understands the purpose of the investigation, you can then advance with adherence to the following procedure.
First the immediate supervisor of the injured person involved should determine who needs to be involved in the investigation. This will vary depending on the severity of the situation and the policies and procedures put in place by individual companies. If a company has a specific team dedicated to investigating accidents in the workplace, then that team should be contacted. If the injured party involved requests legal counsel, then that person’s representation should be present prior to the administration of any interview with the injured person. Determine whether or not there are additional employees involved in the incident and ask if any of them identify as witnesses to the incident. In the case of a severe accident or fatality, the immediate supervisor may need to involve senior management personnel, engineering teams and/or legal representation for the employer.
Second you’ll want to obtain the investigation kit which should already be prepared in anticipation of an accident. The investigation kit should include the following items-
• Investigation forms
• Interview forms
• Barricade markers/ tape
• Warning tags
• Camera capable of recording video
• Protective clothing
• A pen
• Voice recorder
• Measuring tape
• Sample Container
You should secure the scene of the incident and preserve the area prior to advancing.
Third interview the injured worker. It is important to understand that these interviews can be intimidating to both the injured employee or witnesses. In order to conduct a successful interview, it is important to remind the interviewee that the purpose of the investigation is not to find fault, but rather to prevent future accidents and to promote the safety of all employees in the workplace. It is recommended that interviews take place in quiet, private locations and that the person conducting the interview ask open-ended questions. The person conducting the interview should look for clarity and should avoid jumping to conclusions such as, ‘employee did not follow procedures.’ Instead, the person conducting the interview should continue to ask clarifying questions. The person conducting the interview should try and understand exactly what caused the issue and try to solicit feedback from the affected employee regarding changes the business could make to promote a safer environment. At the end of the interview, the interviewer should reiterate the factual information obtained from the interviewee and ask the interviewee to verify that all of the information obtained accurately represents the information that the interviewee was intending to convey.
Fourth all of the witnesses should be interviewed following the same procedure. If a witness provides information that is contradictory to the information obtained from the injured party, the interviewer should ask for clarification and make a note of it. At the end of the interview, the interviewer should reiterate all of the factual information noted to the interviewee and verify that all of the noted information is an accurate representation of the information that the interviewee was intending to convey.
Fifth using photos or videos, document the scene of the incident. Consider the narrative description of events as told by the witness and injured party involved. What was the causal factor? Is there any evidence of the causal factor at the scene of the accident? If so, document it. If not, document it. Are there any visible hazards? If so, document them. The purpose of this step is to gather as much information regarding the scene of the accident as possible. Any evidence that either validates or contradicts the supposed causal factor of the accident should be documented.
Sixth complete the incident report. The report should include ascertainment of what caused the incident as well as a detailed explanation of what preventative actions the business can take moving forward to forestall future accidents. The incident report should also include information regarding the evidence available, the information obtained through interviews, worker characteristics such as age, gender, height et cetera. The report should also include a description of the injuries sustained, supervisory information and a description of the action being performed at the time of the injury.
Seventh make sure to amend current safety standards, policies and procedures to instill more preventative actions to forestall future accidents in the workplace. Ensure these amendments are practiced and that everyone in the workplace is aware of the changes.
Following these steps will ensure that all parties involved are treated fairly and that accidents are handled professionally. It will also allow employers to continue to improve their safety standards and promote a safer workplace for everyone. Make sure that you have a plan in place before an accident occurs.