Accidents in the workplace happen. It is just part of doing business. Of course, many accidents can be prevented by putting procedures and safety measures in place, or by conducting effective employee training sessions, but when you’re dealing with people (everyone is prone to making the occasional mistake), accidents can occur.
What happens next is important. Employers need to go through the proper steps to make sure the affected people are taken care of, but they also should conduct an accident investigation to help prevent similar incidents from happening again.
Someone at your place of business could certainly conduct the investigation, but many business owners prefer to bring in a third party for corporate accident investigations in Orange County, for the sake of objectivity. It’s also helpful to have someone who is familiar with accident investigations go through the process of determining exactly what went wrong and what should be done differently going forward.
Does OSHA Require Accident Investigations in Orange County?
While OSHA does not require that businesses in Orange County conduct accident investigations for most incidents, they do strongly encourage it. OSHA even recommends that all close calls or near misses be investigated.
However, a thorough accident investigation is required by OSHA when the accident results in a fatality or when three or more people require hospitalization. An accident of this seriousness needs to undergo a serious investigation. It is too easy to chalk up an incident to the carelessness of an individual or faulty equipment. The underlying causes also need to be discovered. For example, was the person who caused the incident following proper workplace procedures, and if not, why not? Or, did the piece of equipment that failed require regular maintenance that it was not given? If equipment wasn’t properly maintained, was that because it wasn’t clear who was responsible for that task?
What Is the Purpose of a Workplace Accident Investigation?
According to OSHA, “The prevention of another future incident is the purpose of incident investigation, not to lay blame or find who’s at fault. The investigation should identify the causes of the incident so that controls can be put in place to prevent the same incident from happening again.” To reiterate, the goal of an accident investigation is not to find out who should get fired over the incident—it is to discover the underlying cause(s) that eventually led to the incident. In all likelihood, simply firing someone won’t make the problem go away. Similar incidents will occur until the root issue is discovered and remedied.
Someone skilled in workplace accident investigations in Orange County will know the right questions to ask to get to the bottom of things. They will conduct interviews, inspect equipment, and review maintenance logs and safety procedures in order to find out:
- What happened
- How it happened
- Why it happened
- What needs to done to prevent similar incidents in the future
An accident investigator should provide your business with a thorough report following the investigation that clearly spells out his or her findings and recommendations for moving forward.
The conclusion of an accident investigation is also a great time to update a company’s Injury & Illness Prevention Program (IIPP). The updated document should include any new policies, procedures, and training programs that were deemed necessary to prevent incidents similar to the one that was investigated.
As a business owner, the worst thing you can do is try to sweep a workplace accident under the rug. Instead, you should use it as a opportunity to make your company a safer place to work for you and all of your employees.short url: