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One of the best ways to avoid further accidents is to understand how an accident occurred and how to avoid this accident in the future. The accident investigation is a tool.
The goal in an accident investigation is to:
  • Satisfy legal requirements (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, NIOSH, and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
  • Find out what happened and determine immediate and underlying or root causes.
  • Rethink the safety hazard.
  • Introduce ways to prevent a reoccurrence
  • Establish training needs.
  • Establish ways to prevent the accident in the future 

    An accident, a near miss and an incident should all be investigated. Accident investigations are a tool for uncovering hazards that either were missed earlier or require new controls (policies, procedures or personal protective equipment). Near-miss reporting and investigation identify and control safety or health hazards before they cause a more serious incident.

When an accident occurs, do the following:

  • Conduct an investigation as soon as possible following the event to gather all the necessary facts, determine the true causes of the event, and develop recommendations to prevent a recurrence.
  • Get there as quickly as possible.
  • Ensure area is safe to enter.
  • Make sure injured person has first-aid or medical attention required.
  • Look for witnesses.
  • Record the scene with photos (ideally date and time printed) or sketches.
  • Safeguard any evidence.
  • Establish what happened.
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