The prime reason for an investigation of any industrial accident is to prevent the recurrence of that accident. Simply put, finding out the causes of accidents is very helpful in controlling or eliminating such accidents in the future. To understand the causes of any accident that occurs in an organization / work site, why and how this accident happened, investigators need to gather all the facts pertaining to before and during the incident.
In order to deal with an emergency, it becomes necessary to initiate an accident investigation as well as document steps that are taken. Speed and time frame becomes very important in this whole process to make it successful.
People-centric accident prevention methodologies are increasingly gaining popularity within the HSE field. The finesse of human observation has been proven time and again as the critical factor which enables proactive safety for all. ASK-EHS, the quintessential solution provider for HSE recognizes and aids human observation with automation – Hazard Reporting App.
Through this blog ASK-EHS aims to share / sensitize why it is important to investigate and report any type of accident that occurs in an organization / work site.
Hazards to be identified: Incident reporting can act as a heads up for the management that helps to identify potential deficiencies or problem area that are needed to be addressed.. Incident report forms can prevent future adverse situations from developing into a major accident or disaster.
Enforce the safety culture: Incident investigations that focus on identifying and correcting root causes improve employee morale and attitude towards health and safety by demonstrating an employer’s commitment to a safe and healthy workplace. Employees will be more cooperative in implementing new safety precautions if they are involved in the decision-making process and they can be more observant towards hazards identification. Incident reporting becomes important if resilient safety cultures are to become industry norms.
Reducing the frequency of incidents: While investigations only provide feedback concerning the specific scenario, causal factors of an incident are still reported – addressing such factors reduce the frequency of the causes of the incident as well as consequences of a similar incident in the future.
Prompt incident reporting is a huge cost saving: Organizations also benefit through huge cost savings when incident investigations and reporting are done promptly. Some studies claim that reporting within two weeks of an incident were 18% more expensive than reporting in a week. Furthermore, claims reporting after more than five weeks from the date of injury were 45% more expensive. Hence, the cost of maintaining the incident reporting program is much cheaper than the cost of accidents of a major event.
The steps to conducting an effective accident investigation are:
- Provide first aid as well as the medical careto the injured people and taking action to prevent further injuries or damage. This becomes the first priority.
- Report the accidentas required by the company’s policies.
- Investigate the accident as soon as possible after its occurrence. That allows one to observe the conditions as they were at the time of the accident, prevents disturbance of the evidence, and allows to identify witnesses. One needs to gather physical evidence, take photographs, and interview witnesses to understand the chain of events that led to the accident.
- Identify the causes of the accident.Note that there are usually multiple causes.
- Develop a plan for corrective actions to prevent the accidents from happening again.These actions should be specific, constructive and address the root causes of the accident described in the report.
- Implement the corrective action plans.It would be helpful to set a deadline for the implementation of corrective actions and monitoring to ensure that they are completed within the stipulated timeframe.
- Submit the findings in a written report. It becomes helpful to prepare a step-by-step account or timeline working back from the moment of the accident, listing all possible causes at each step. This account can be useful in preparing the final report, which should clearly explain the reasons for your conclusions.
- Follow-upto evaluate the effectiveness of the corrective actions taken.
- Make adjustmentsas needed and continue to improve.
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