OSHA's Tips for Investigating a Workplace Incident

Written by on 7/24/2017 3:50 AM in , , , , . It has 0 Comments.

Investigating a workplace incident offers insight into job site hazards and identifying potential shortcomings in safety, health, and operational procedures. OSHA strongly encourages these investigations following any incident in which a worker is hurt, as well as ‘close calls’ or ‘near misses.’ Intelligence gathered from these investigations can help in devising and implementing corrective actions integral to preventing future incidents.

Who Should Conduct These Investigations?
Incident investigations are typically performed by a supervisor, but better results are gained when managers and employees work together as a team in dissecting the incident. Each brings a different knowledge and perspective, allowing for a clearer picture.

What Am I Looking For?
Focus on identifying and correcting root causes, rather than immediate causes or placing blame. Looking to simple carelessness or failure to follow procedures is shortsighted – and often misleading. Overlooking the root cause will simply lead to a repeat incident.

Finding the necessary systemic changes also helps maintain morale and productivity, showing your commitment to providing a safe and healthful workplace.

How Do I Make the Best Use of this Information?
Investigating a workplace incident shouldn't end at determining root cause. Start with identifying deficiencies in training, operational procedures, equipment use, or safety and health measures currently in-place. Then, action must be taken to implement effective corrective measures in a timely manner, and understanding why it wasn't previously addressed.

This is key to minimizing or eliminating the potential for similar future incidents, thwarting unnecessary employee injury, and the need for subsequent investigations.

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