The goal of any safety manager is to reduce or eliminate the number of incidents within the workplace. But when injuries and illnesses do occur, it’s important to learn from them. Incident investigations should be a standard practice.
The purpose of an incident investigation is to gather data. The information that you collect will help you prevent similar events from occurring in the future.
Conducting an Incident Investigation
Investigations are not meant to place blame on employees. It’s important for you to reiterate this to anyone involved in the investigation. Particularly for the injured or affected worker.
Employees might feel guilty or uncomfortable during the investigation process. They might be tempted to hide certain facts or leave out some of the details. Encourage them to be open and honest. Remind them that the purpose of the investigation is to learn from the incident and to prevent additional injuries from happening to anyone else.
So what does the investigation process look like? Essentially you want to capture, track, report, and analyze the details of the incident. For tips and strategies about conducting incident investigations, check out our related blog posts.
To make the process easier and more efficient, you may want to consider implementing an incident management software system. It will guide you step-by-step throughout the entire process.
Once the investigation is over, you’ll likely end up with a list of corrective actions. Be sure to follow up. Make sure that everything on your list is getting done. An incident management system would be highly beneficial during this process as well.
Sharing Safety Incidents Within Your Company
The final product of your investigation should be some type of report that can be shared within your company. It should summarize the following:
1) The date, time, and location of the incident
2) The events leading up to the incident
3) The tools, equipment, hazards, etc. involved in the incident
4) The nature of the injury / description of the incident
5) The root cause analysis (and any other contributing factors)
6) A list of the corrective actions
7) Any other relevant data
This report will be used to share key information with management, your employees, and regulatory agencies if necessary.
Again, the purpose of the investigation and the report is to learn from the incident and prevent it from happening again.
These reports should be shared with your other job sites too – especially if you’re a construction company or operate from multiple locations. The lessons learned from one job site might help prevent an incident from occurring at another.
There are several ways that you can share safety reports, both at your own facility and with other locations within your company:
- In-Person Meetings
- Routine Phone Calls or Check-Ins
- Emails or Newsletters
- Automated Software Systems
You’ll need to choose the method that works best for you.
Having an automated system can reduce the time and effort spent putting together the reports. Instead of manually typing it up and starting from scratch each time, you simply fill in the blanks and enter the various details. Once complete, it can be automatically sent to the right people.
Other Safety Data to Share
In addition to injuries and illnesses, you should be sharing other types of safety data within your company. Examples include:
- Near Misses
- Best Practices
- Preventative Measures
- Statistics and Reports
- Findings from Audits and Inspections
- Leading and Lagging Indicators
Each of these examples provide valuable information. Share this data using the same methods you use for incident investigation reports.
Creating a Safer Workplace
Sharing safety incidents data within your company will help to create a safer workplace. The lessons learned from unfortunate accidents and incidents might be able to protect the rest of your workers from the same fate.
If you’re looking for a solution to help guide you during incident investigations, check out our EHS management system. The Enablon software can streamline the entire process.
View the recording of our webinar with TapRooT® to learn how you can enable a human factors-based incident investigation lifecycle, and how the integration of Enablon and TapRooT® facilitates the tasks of incident investigators: