The recording and reporting of accidents in the workplace are required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). While accidents are bound to occur, proper adherence to the guidelines provided by OSHA can help to minimize the occurrence and severity of accidents. According to OSHA, most accidents can be prevented if the proper training is provided and the regulations and standards are followed.
If an accident occurs, there is a procedure to follow. The main goal is to prevent a similar accident from occurring in the future by preparing the appropriate documentation. Conducting an accident investigation can determine the cause of an accident and allow the employer to address any problems or issues that may exist in the work environment. Here are the recommended steps for an accident investigation.
- Secure the accident scene quickly using yellow caution tape, warning cones, or have individuals stand guard. Gather the facts and the series of events that led to the accident. Collect as much relevant information as possible. Try to identify the cause of the injury and the hazards that exist. Take notes while investigating, create sketches, take pictures, and tape or video witnesses. The more information you can gather, the better.
- Once the information is gathered. Analyze all of the data before coming to a conclusion. Assess the events and create strategies that will avoid a repeat of the episode. Recommend improvements using safety as the priority. Ensure that the hazard is removed and that workers are protected. You may need to consult a third party for recommendations for improvements.
- Prepare a report of your findings and your recommendations. If you require management to invest in changes, highlight the detrimental effect of not adopting your suggested changes such as increased cost from accidents, injuries, and absenteeism. It is important that employees feel valued and protected.
For more information on conducting accident investigations visit the OSHA website.
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