Complaints from employers during and following a workplace injury investigation abound, with the process and results often viewed in a negative light. What employers often fail to realize is that if their safety and health programs were working, the need to look into their workplace employee injury management practices would be moot. The on-site injury of an employee points to a process gone awry. Instead, viewing the investigation from a positive light can net results that will prevent these issues from occurring (or reoccurring) in the future.
Realize the true purpose of injury investigation
Let go of the blame game. Criminal and insurance investigations seek blame. Workplace injury investigations do not, and are conducted for the purpose of prevention and correction. Think of it as a friend saying, “Hey, you tried, but you missed this...”
Don’t neglect the investigation of accidents, including:
- All injuries - even the little ones.
- All accidents with the potential to result in injury (even if an injury did not occur).
- “Near misses,” to examine the root cause.
- Property and product damage.
- All entries on your OSHA Injury and Illness Log.
The investigation process
This should involve the injured/impacted employee, their description of the occurrence, and either an accident investigation team, safety director, or independent examination team, as well as the supervisor of the affected area. This allows for awareness, responsibility, and corrective action opportunities (which should NOT include finger wagging and “be more careful.”). When finished, complete a prevention report and preserve the physical environment and all records in the event further investigation is necessary.
Employee injury management investigations giving you a headache? Minnesota Comp Advisor can help. Contact us today.