Safetip #71: Use OSHA’s Information Collection Checklist
OSHA’s Four-Step Systems Approach for Incident Investigations
Incident investigations should be an important part of any occupational safety and health program. All incidents should be investigated, including accidents that resulted in fatalities, injuries or property damage, and near misses. Incident investigations help to prevent future incidents by uncovering root causes, identifying workplace hazards, and putting in place corrective and preventive action plans.
To help organizations conduct effective incident investigations, OSHA has made available a number of resources, including an Incident (Accident) Investigations Guide for Employers. The purpose of the Guide is to provide employers a systems approach to help them identify and control the underlying or root causes of all incidents in order to prevent their recurrence. The approach is composed of 4 steps:
1) Preserve/Document the Scene
2) Collect Information
3) Determine Root Causes
4) Implement Corrective Actions
Ensure All Information Pertinent to an Incident is Collected
Incident information is collected through interviews, document reviews and other methods. To help ensure that all information pertinent to an incident is collected, the OSHA guide provides the following checklist in Appendix E (page 23):
To make the information collection phase of your incident investigations as effective as possible, consider adopting OSHA’s checklist, or creating your own by using it as a model. Furthermore, make sure that the checklist is part of a comprehensive incident reporting and investigation process enabled through software, to share data more effectively, and analyze it to identify trends (e.g. times of day when incidents happen the most, activities performed during the events, underlying and root causes). The use of software, as opposed to paper forms or spreadsheets, also allows you to easily adapt the checklist for different types of incidents, and assign action plans to make sure corrective and preventive actions are being completed.
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