Accident Prevention & Investigation

Accident Prevention Plan

Workplace accident prevention plans and control of hazards is the result of a well designed and executed safety and health program. One of the keys to a successful program includes unbiased, prompt and accurate workplace accident investigations. The basic purpose of these investigations is to determine measures that can be taken to prevent similar accidents in the future. A comprehensive occupational Illness and Injury prevention plan can save money and lives.

Accident Investigation Techniques

An accident is any unplanned event that results in personal injury or in property damage. When the personal injury requires little or no treatment, it is minor. If it results in a fatality or in a permanent total, permanent partial, or temporary total (lost-time) disability, it is serious. Similarly, property damage may be minor or serious. Investigate all accidents regardless of the extent of injury or damage.

Workplace Accident Prevention

Accidents are usually complex. An accident may have 10 or more events that can be causes. A detailed analysis of an accident will normally reveal three cause levels: basic, indirect, and direct. At the lowest level, an accident results only when a person or object receives an amount of energy or hazardous material that cannot be absorbed safely. This energy or hazardous material is the DIRECT CAUSE of the accident. The direct cause is usually the result of one or more unsafe acts or unsafe conditions, or both. Unsafe acts and conditions are the INDIRECT CAUSES or symptoms. In turn, indirect causes are usually traceable to poor management policies and decisions, or to personal or environmental factors. These are the BASIC CAUSES.

In spite of their complexity, most accidents are preventable by eliminating one or more causes. Accident investigations determine not only what happened, but also how and why. The information gained from these investigations can prevent recurrence of similar or perhaps more disastrous accidents. Accident investigators are interested in each event as well as in the sequence of events that led to an accident. The accident type is also important to the investigator. The recurrence of accidents of a particular type or those with common causes shows areas needing special accident prevention emphasis.

Most accidents are preventable by eliminating one or more causes. Accident investigations determine not only what happened, but also how and why. The information gained from these investigations can prevent recurrence of similar or perhaps more disastrous accidents. Accident investigators are interested in each event as well as in the sequence of events that led to an accident. The accident type is also important to the investigator. The recurrence of accidents of a particular type or those with common causes shows areas needing special accident prevention emphasis.

Accident Investigation

In general, experienced personnel should conduct interviews. All interviews should be conducted in a quite and private location. It is essential to get preliminary statements as soon as possible from all witnesses. Investigators should not provide any facts to the witness - only ask non-leading questions.

Accidents represent problems that must be solved through investigations. Formal procedures are helpful in identifying and solving problems. This section discusses two of the most common procedures: Change Analysis and Job Safety Analysis.

Accident Fact Finding

Gather evidence from many sources during an investigation. Get information from witnesses and reports as well as by observation. Interview witnesses as soon as possible after an accident. Inspect the accident site before any changes occur. Take photographs and make sketches of the accident scene. Record all pertinent data on maps. Get copies of all reports. Documents containing normal operating procedures, flow diagrams, maintenance charts, or reports of difficulties or abnormalities are particularly useful. Keep complete and accurate notes in a bound notebook. Record pre-accident conditions, the accident sequence, and post-accident conditions. In addition, document the location of victims, witnesses, machinery, energy sources, and hazardous materials.

In some investigations, a particular physical or chemical law, principle, or property may explain a sequence of events. Include laws in the notes taken during the investigation or in the later analysis of data. In addition, gather data during the investigation that may lend itself to analysis by these laws, principles, or properties. An appendix in the final report can include an extended discussion.

After interviewing all witnesses, the team should analyze each witness' statement. They may wish to re-interview one or more witnesses to confirm or clarify key points. While there may be inconsistencies in witnesses' statements, investigators should assemble the available testimony into a logical order. Analyze this information along with data from the accident site.

Not all people react in the same manner to a particular stimulus. For example, a witness within close proximity to the accident may have an entirely different story from one who saw it at a distance. Some witnesses may also change their stories after they have discussed it with others. The reason for the change may be additional clues.

A witness who has had a traumatic experience may not be able to recall the details of the accident. A witness who has a vested interest in the results of the investigation may offer biased testimony. Finally, eyesight, hearing, reaction time, and the general condition of each witness may affect his or her powers of observation. A witness may omit entire sequences because of a failure to observe them or because their importance was not realized.

All materials in the members area for this topic index

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MS-WORD Accident Investigation Safety Program
MS-WORD Accident Prevention Plan Safety Program
MS-WORD Accident Record Keeping And Reporting Safety Program
MS-WORD IIPP Injury Illness Prevention Program Template
MS-WORD Management Of Unsafe Conditions Safety Program
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MS-WORD Safety Delivers Return On Investment Program Development
Fact Sheets
MS-WORD OSHA New Injury Reporting 2017
MS-WORD OSHA New Reporting Rule

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MS-WORD Accident Investigation Audit Guide
MS-WORD Accident Prevention Audit Guide
MS-WORD Accident Prevention Plan General Checklist
MS-WORD Accident Prevention Supervisor Safety Checklist
MS-WORD Accident Report Form
MS-WORD Vehicle Accident Report Analysis Worksheet Form
MS-WORD Vehicle Accident Report Form
MS-WORD Violence Incident Report Form

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MS-WORD Computing Incident Rate Safety Article
MS-WORD Containing Workers Comp Costs Safety Article
MS-WORD Property Damage Investigation Safety Article
MS-WORD Violence At Work Safety Article
Crossword Puzzle
MS-WORD Accident Crossword Answer Key
MS-WORD Accident Crossword
MS-WORD Management Amputation Prevention Guide
MS-WORD Accident Investigation Training Handout Spanish
MS-WORD Accident Investigation Training Handout
MS-WORD Accident Prevention Training Handout Spanish
MS-WORD Accident Prevention Training Handout
MS-WORD Accident Investigation Techniques Management Safety Brief
MS-WORD Management Handbook Slips Trips And Falls
MS-WORD Accident Investigation Training Outline
MS-WORD Accident Prevention Training Outline
MS-WORD Accident Prevention Pamphlet Spanish
MS-WORD Accident Prevention Pamphlet
MS-PPT Accident Investigation PowerPoint Spanish
MS-PPT Accident Investigation PowerPoint
MS-PPT Accident Prevention PowerPoint Spanish
MS-PPT Accident Prevention PowerPoint
MS-PPT Accident Prevention Program Workshop PowerPoint
MS-PPT Loss Control PowerPoint Spanish
MS-PPT Loss Control PowerPoint
MS-PPT S H Programs 10 Hour
MS-WORD Accident Acts Reminder
MS-WORD Accident Causes Reminder
MS-WORD Accident Conditions Reminder
MS-WORD Accident Excuses Reminder
MS-WORD Accident Hazards Reminder
MS-WORD Accident Investigation Data Reminder
MS-WORD Accident Investigation Purpose Reminder
MS-WORD Accident Investigation Report Reminder
MS-WORD Accident Investigation Scene Reminder
MS-WORD Accident Results Reminder
MS-WORD Accident Rules Reminder
MS-WORD Accident Prevention Safety Session
MS-WORD 2brief ACC Inv
MS-WORD 2brief Accident1
MS-WORD 2brief Accidents
MS-WORD Accidents Hand Talk Spanish
MS-WORD Accidents Hand Talk
MS-WORD Accidents Hidden Haz Talk
MS-WORD Accidents Inj Ill Prev Talk
MS-WORD Accidents Investigation Talk
MS-WORD Accidents Slip Trip Talk
MS-WORD Accidents Talk
MS-WORD Accidents Unsafe Acts Talk


MS-WORD Poster Accident2
MS-WORD Poster Accident

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