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Steps for Accident Investigation

Safety should be considered as a precedence in EVERY Industry.

All untoward incidents, which could not be prevented from occurrence, indicate that failures have occurred. It is very essential to draw lessons from it, improve the situation and avoid it in future.

Steps for Accident Investigation shall comprise of the following steps in sequence:

Step 1: Gathering Information

  • Secure the scene as soon as possible to prevent it being altered.
  • Collect witnesses’ details quickly, before they start to move away.
  • Collect factual information from the scene and record it.

The investigator should come prepared with the appropriate equipment to record this information.

  • Once the scene has been thoroughly examined, move on to the second source of information: witnesses.
    Witnesses often provide crucial evidence about what occurred before, during and after incident. They should be interviewed carefully to make sure that good quality evidence is gathered.
  • Once witnesses have been interviewed, move on to the third source of information: documentation.


Step 2: Analyzing Information

The purpose here is to draw conclusions about the immediate and root causes of the incident.

Immediate causes are the unsafe act and unsafe conditions that gave rise to the event itself. These will be the things that occurred at the time and place of the accident. For example, a worker slips on a puddle of oil spilt on the floor – immediate causes: the slip hazard (unsafe condition), the worker walking through it (unsafe act). Root causes lie behind the immediate causes.

In contrast to this single cause idea, some workplace accidents are complex and have multiple causes: there are several immediate causes for the accident and each of these has one or more underlying or root cause. This idea is usually referred to as Multi-Causation Theory.

Step 3: Identify Suitable Control Measures

Once the immediate and underlying causes of the accident are known, appropriate control measures can be identified. Perhaps the most important questions to ask when identifying control measures are:

  • If this action is taken, will it prevent this same accident from happening in exactly the same way at this location?
  • If this action is taken, will it prevent other similar types of accident from happening in similar locations in the future?

If the answer to both of these questions is “no”, then you need to identify other control measures.

Step 4: Plan the Remedial Actions

An accident investigation should lead to corrective action being taken, in just the same way as a workplace inspection will.

When the action plan is being prepared, appropriate immediate and interim control measures must be given suitable priorities and timescales. Dangerous practices and high risk activities must be dealt immediately.

Accident/Incident scenarios can be easily recreated, shared and explained with Animated Safety Videos or EHS Videos.

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