Note: Ask Approach is taking a look at safety this week, as we gear up for the Governor’s Industrial Safety and Health Conference, happening Sept. 24-26 in Tacoma.
Look for Approach in Booth 326 at the Tacoma Convention Center!
3 Reasons You Need a Safety Detective
Your company has a safety director, but are they skilled at being a safety investigator? Let’s look at why investigation is a big part of safety and how it helps your company:
1. The goal is to prevent repeats
The goal of an accident investigation is to keep the accident from ever happening again. The goal is NOT to place blame. This is very important for your co-workers and employees to hear, so that they feel free to share as much information as possible. Your investigator will be asking lots of questions, but only to make things safer in the future.
2. It really is detective work
You don’t need someone to blame, but you do need to find out exactly what happened. This means working like a detective, to talk with witnesses and find out:
- What was the employee doing?
- Was it safe behavior or at-risk behavior
- What were the environmental conditions, such as: Lighting, heat/cold, moisture/humidity, dust, vapors, etc.
- If equipment was involved, was it defective/operational, were guards in place, were there leaks, broken parts, etc.
- Did procedures exist for the work being done and were they being followed or not
- Had the employee received training on the work being done
Last but not least, ask each witness how they think the situation could be prevented in the future. Their responses might provide additional insight on how the accident happened, plus it gives them a voice in making things better for the future.
3. Near-misses need to be investigated
The law in Washington state requires you to investigate accidents that result in injury or damage, but what about when everything turns out okay? After that sigh of relief, it’s still time to pause and take a close look at what happened. After all, chances are someone will get hurt if the situation ever repeats itself.
Investigate and report on near misses just as you would for an “actual” accident. Employees may be reluctant to do this, but let them know it’s important to that company and again, that blame won’t be assigned. Some companies even offer incentives for reporting near misses that would otherwise be swept under the rug.
As you can see, Accident Investigator is a job that’s both complex and important. Approach clients who are new to accident investigation can contact the Approach safety team for sample accident investigation forms and even one-on-one help completing the process. Just contact us at 800.626.0846.