The prime purpose for the “Investigation of Workplace Incident” is not to find faults but to find facts that can take steps to collator actions, to find out the cause of incidents and to prevent similar incidents in the future. The fact that an adverse event has happened indicates that the existing risk control measures were inadequate.
The term ‘incident’ is defined as an unexpected occurrence, condition, or situation occur in the course of work that could have resulted in injuries, illnesses, damage to health, or fatalities or as an unplanned event that interrupts the completion of an activity, and that may (or may not) include injury or property losses.
If you have had a number of similar incidents or adverse events, it may be worth investigating, even if each single event is worth investigating separately. It is best practice to investigate all incidents which may affect the people, workplace environment and property.
IMPORTANCE OF THE INVESTIGATION OF WORKPLACE INCIDENT
An investigation is not an end in itself, but the first step in preventing future adverse events. A good investigation will enable you to learn general lessons, which can be applied while implementing safety system in your organisation.
The investigation should identify why the existing risk control measures failed and what improvements or additional measures are needed. More general lessons on why the risk control measures were inadequate must also be learned.
Thoroughly investigated and taken countermeasures to prevent further incidents would demonstrate that your company has a positive attitude to health and safety.
The information that follows is intentioned to be a general manoeuvre for employers, supervisors, health and safety personnel and an incident investigation team.
PRIOR REASONS TO THE “INVESTIGATION OF WORKPLACE INCIDENT”
While investigating an incident, the insistence should be given on finding the root cause of the incident to prevent it from recurring.
The stress is given
- To find facts that can lead to corrective actions and not only on finding faults.
- To look for basic causes.
- To fulfil all the legal proceedings.
- To determine compliance with applicable regulations (e.g., occupational health and safety, criminal, etc.)
- Above all, to find out the cause of incidents and to prevent similar incidents in the future.
- Most importantly, these steps can be used to investigate any situation) as a way to prevent an incident (e.g., where no incident has occurred … yet)
LEGAL REASONS FOR INVESTIGATION
To ensure you are operating your organisation within the law The Governments of every country emphasize organisations to plan, organise, control, monitor and review their people’s health and safety arrangements. Health and safety investigations are a requisite part of this process.
The employer is required to make complete disclosure of the circumstances and sequences of an incident to the concerned legal authorities.
To determine the cost of an incident and to process workers’ compensation claims
INFORMATION, FACTS AND PERCEPTIONS PROCURED FROM THE INVESTIGATION OF WORKPLACE INCIDENT
- How and why things went wrong.
- The exposure to substances or conditions that may affect worker’s health and safety.
- What really happens and how work is really done. (Workers may find short cuts to make their work easier or quicker and may ignore rules.)
- Deficiencies in the risk control management, which will help you to fortify your management of risk in the future
- To learn lessons which will be applicable to other parts of your organisation.
BENEFITS ARISING FROM AN INVESTIGATION OF INCIDENT
- The prevention of further similar incidents.
- If there is a serious accident, the regulatory authorities will take a firm line if previous warnings have been ignored.
- The prevention of business losses due to disruption, damage and the costs of criminal and civil legal actions.
- An improvement in employee morale and attitude towards health and safety.
- Employees will be more confident and cooperative in implementing new safety precautions if they were involved in the decision and they can see that problems are dealt with.
- The development of managerial skills which can be readily applied to other areas of the organisation.
- The fact that you thoroughly investigated and took remedial action to prevent further accidents would demonstrate that your company has a positive attitude to health and safety.
- Your investigation findings will also provide essential information as to what went wrong and what needs to be done to prevent similar accidents in future.
It is desirable that every major and minor incidents and all near misses should be thoroughly investigated to maintain safe working environment.
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