During our pre-employment safety orientations, we always instruct employees that Tocci takes every accident and injury extremely seriously.
We stress the need to report all accidents, incidents, and near misses immediately to Tocci Representatives. We state that we need to know the Who, What, When, Where, and Why of all accidents in order to help prevent reoccurring incidents from taking place on our projects.
In this safety blog, I am going to highlight how to properly conduct an accident investigation for work-related job site incidents. There are five steps that need to be conducted in order to perform a proper investigation:
- Secure the scene of the incident – This may sound a little like CSI, but it is extremely important when serious accidents or injuries have taken place. This is to preserve any evidence that is necessary to understand the accident. Taking photos of the incident scene before resuming work activity is an important part of this step. All tools and equipment involved in the incident should be taken out of service and obtained as needed.
- Collect the facts about what happened – This involves interviewing all parties involved in the incident including any available witnesses. Taking written documented statements is a key part of collecting facts about the incident. Keeping an open mind and avoiding blame until all the facts are collected is a must.
- Identify root causes and system deficiencies – Once you have a good understanding of the facts of the specific incident that happened, you will be able to identify what deficiencies were in the system that allowed the accident to happen. The purpose of accident investigation is to identify problems in the system, not always the workers involved in the incident.
- Identify recommended corrective actions – Based on the problems that are found corrective actions are developed as a tool to help prevent reoccurring incidents. In some cases, new procedures and protocols are developed. Corrective actions should be communicated to all projects as a lesson learned in a manner that does not point out or highlight individual blame.
- Document the Investigation – Tocci has a specific accident investigation form that clearly incorporates all five steps of this investigation process. In order to assure that a complete and effective investigation has been conducted, all sections of the form must be completed.
Conducting proper accident investigations is an extremely important part of Tocci’s safety system. The goal of conducting accident and incident investigations is to improve our organization’s safety operations, learn from our mistakes, and prevent reoccurring incidents from occurring on our projects.