Safetip #150: Prioritize the Types of Incidents to Investigate
Learn from Incidents
An incident is never a desired outcome, but it nevertheless offers an opportunity to learn and improve. An incident can help to uncover a hazard or risk that was previously unknown. An incident investigation that aims to identify the root causes of an incident makes you look beyond the immediate factors that contributed to an incident. Instead, it makes you focus on underlying systemic issues that may indicate organizational and/or operational weaknesses leading to improper or incomplete assessments of hazards and risks.
Prepare for Incident Investigations
A recent post from TapRooT on our blog on three ways to be better prepared for an incident investigation highlights the importance of preparing for an incident investigation before an actual incident occurs. This ensures that you keep control of an incident scene and collect critical information to conduct a thorough root cause analysis. One of the steps consists of writing a standard investigation policy that will provide a framework for investigators.
Prioritize the Incidents That Get Investigated
The TapRooT post identifies items to think about as part of the development of a written investigation policy, including asking yourself “What gets investigated?”. In an ideal world, you would investigate every single incident right away, but time and resources are limited, which is why you have to pick your battles wisely and prioritize the types of incidents that should be investigated so you know which incidents to start with, and which ones to leave for later. Answer the following questions to help you prioritize:
- Should all incidents systematically be investigated or not?
- Should incidents that meet the criteria for being reportable under applicable jurisdictions (e.g. OSHA recordable injury or illness, HSE RIDDOR reportable incidents) automatically get top priority? (Hint: the answer is yes)
- Should near misses be investigated?
To learn more about incident investigations, join us and TapRooT for a webinar on enabling a human factors-based incident investigation lifecycle. Click on the image below to register: