Accident Investigation Tips

Accident Investigation is a key part of any company's safety protocol.Accident investigation is a necessary evil. It must be a part of a company’s safety protocol. Accidents are bound to occur in the workplace. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) completes thousands of inspections each year. OSHA officials consistently emphasize most accidents are preventable with proper training, preparation, and adherence to standards and regulations.

Safety should always be a priority in the workplace. When dealing with accident investigations, appropriate documentation should exist in an effort to prevent future accidents. A thorough accident investigation helps document important facts regarding the situation and associated root causes. The ultimate goal and focus should be a workplace equipped to be better informed, better prepared, and better motivated to address workplace safety and accident prevention. This article will offer basic tips and strategies for getting to the bottom of a job-related accident.

Secure the Accident Scene

A good accident investigation starts with securing the site of the accident. It should be secured as quickly as possible so that information can be gathered and documented. Yellow tape isn’t just for crime drama shows on TV.  You might even have some guard the scene if it’s a serious accident.

Gather Facts and Determine the Series of Events

This step is crucial. It is imperative that the information gathered in an accident investigation is factual. You should only document information relevant to what happened. Don’t skimp on the details. Every bit of information might be important.  At this stage in the process, you are most concerned with determining the root causes of the injury and associated hazards.  You want to have standardized accident investigation forms available that are appropriate for note-taking and documentation. Don’t wait until there is an accident to develop these forms and have them on hand!  In addition, you may decide to use sketches, interviews, photos, video, or tape-recordings to help gather data.

Determine the Causes

After the information has been gathered and the series of events determined, you have to assess what truly caused the accident. In any accident investigation you must target the root cause of the accident. Suggest strategies to prevent repeat accidents. This step requires thorough analysis and overview.

Recommend Improvements

The main purpose of an accident investigation is to promote progress and prevention. After you have completed a thorough analysis and overview of the accident, you should be ready to suggest changes and improvements. Your overall goal is safety improvement. At this step, your focus is removing and eliminating the hazard or exposure and putting up barriers to protect workers.

Write the Report

This last step of the process is probably the most effective at promoting change within your workplace. You have to write a report on your findings so that management can take action. It is important you prepare your report and presentation in a manner that will command the most attention from management. In an effort to secure change within your organization, you should ensure the report is prepared on official forms containing pertinent information and suggested improvements from the investigation.

OSHA has suggestions and procedures for accident investigation on their website at