Accident Investigations: Safety’s Best Teaching Mechanism

On Thursday, February 21st, 2019

Every company has the same goal:  zero accidents.   However, for most, it remains strictly a goal since even under the best of circumstances with all safeguards in place, accident can occur. 

What’s crucial from the standpoint of turning a liability into an asset is a careful analysis of what took place in order for everyone to learn its lessons.    Only then is there the assurance that such an accident will never occur again.

There’s any number of key factors, but possibly the most important is a combination of urgency as well as thoroughness in the investigation itself.   This includes both examining physical causation as well as witness interviews.   Take photos as soon as possible.   Once the investigation is complete, a written report should communicate four essentials:

  • NARRATIVE: Contains the important facts of the investigation and its conclusions
  • OBSERVATIONS: States the facts bearing on the accident as observed
  • FINDINGS: Describes the causes of the accident and each cause’s relative contribution to it
  • RECOMMENDATIONS: Outline of actions to prevent a reoccurrence

From this document can be created the educational information the workforce thereafter needs to support whatever recommendations are made.   This may include improved hazard identification, additional safety training or any number of other layers of added protection.

A safety incentive program is designed to motivate workers to not only do the right thing, but help their co-workers join them in the effort.    However, motivation can only go so far without a constant flow if educational support with the information the workforce needs to continue to elevate workplace safety to zero accidents.