How are Incidents Investigated According to OSHA?
July 28th 2022
In incidents where a worker was hurt or in “close calls” (an incident in which an injury could’ve occurred but did not), OSHA strongly encourages employers to investigate the circumstances. Investigating a worksite incident such as a fatality, illness, or close call helps employers identify hazards in their operations . It also enables employers to identify and implement corrective actions necessary to prevent future incidents. Investigations should include managers and employees working together . The main objectives of an incident investigation include determining the root cause of the incident and developing recommendations for prevention of illnesses and injuries. When conducting an investigation, the team must look beyond the immediate causes of an incident . When a shortcoming is identified, it is important to ask why it existed and why it was not previously addressed.
The investigation should be conducted as soon as possible– after the incident occurs or is reported, before the incident scene is disturbed or changed, and before the involved person(s) and witnesses forget what happened . Elements of an incident investigation include preparation, on site investigation and a development of a report. In preparation, training is provided to investigators and other personnel, a process is implemented for notifying investigators, and documents are created and identified for collection. The purpose of an on-site investigation is to document conditions and collect information, as well as do a root-cause analysis to determine the cause. When the cause is determined based upon the information collected in the investigation, recommendations for prevention should address the root cause(s) .
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