01522 533388

Why should I investigate a workplace accident and in what circumstances?

When an accident or an incident occurs in your business, you need to be sure that you have the right systems in place to remedy it, and make sure that it doesn’t happen again. With 144 workers killed at work in 2017/18, accidents need to be taken seriously and investigated properly.

17 May 2019

When an accident or an incident occurs in your business, you need to be sure that you have the right systems in place to remedy it, and make sure that it doesn’t happen again. With 144 workers killed at work in 2017/18, accidents need to be taken seriously and investigated properly.

Why should I investigate?

When an accident happens in the workplace, it’s important to investigate for a number of reasons:

Legal considerations

According to Health and Safety at Work Regulations (1999), an employer is required to plan, organise, control, monitor and review their health and safety arrangements. This includes recording and investigating work place accidents. You need to conduct an investigation to ensure that you were working within the law when the incident occurred.

To get an insight into what happened

When an incident occurs, it provides an insight into what may not be working about your health and safety policy. You should investigate to find out exactly what these deficiencies are, so that you can learn and address issues that may have occurred. It may become evident that staff need refresher training to use equipment safely, or that there is a failing in machinery that is causing incidents. By locating the source of an incident, you can begin to put into place steps that will stop it occurring again.

When should you investigate and who is responsible?

You should investigate when the potential consequences and likelihood of an incident occurring are significant. You should look at the incident not in isolation, but as part of the wider history of accidents in your business. This will help you identify if there are any themes, which will in turn inform you of how you investigate the incident.

The investigation is, as part of the employer responsibilities in the Health and Safety Act, required to involve employees and their union representatives. As well as the legal necessity though, including your employees is necessary to gain insight into the potential issue that may have caused the incident. As such, the investigation should be conducted with both management and employees and must include someone who is able to make decisions and actions based on the findings of the investigation. For the investigation to be conducted properly, there should be someone with the necessary skills to gather information to evaluate and analyse it. Given the complexity of some cases that can arise, this is recommended to be an external and specialist body.

The investigation itself should involve analysis of the incident, including what happened, what physical and verbal evidence there is, as well as what guidelines are in place to prevent the incident from occurring.

By investigating an incident properly, you can seek to make your workplace safer as a result. The findings of your internal investigation can help you to adjust your risk assessment and take positive steps towards keeping your employees safe.

At Emprocom, we offer accident investigation as one of our services. To find out more, get in touch today.

Back to the Blog

Book an Appointment

If you would like to arrange an appointment to discuss your health and safety needs generally, or you would like guidance on a specific issue, fill in your details below and we will get in touch