At first glance, it may seem like the purpose of accident investigation and reporting is to understand who caused the accident in order to direct accountability. While one aspect of accident investigation and reporting is for the purpose of accountability, the main objective is to understand what caused the accident in order to prevent it from happening again in the future.
OSHA Guidelines on Accident Investigation and Reporting
As detailed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), thoroughly investigating an accident and then reporting on the results allows employers to better understand what makes their facility safer and less hazardous. The process also allows employees to better understand potential hazards that may exist in the workplace.
While the objective behind figuring out what caused an accident to happen may seem straightforward, the process of the investigation is actually more thorough than you might imagine.
To conduct a thorough analysis, investigators must look beyond who or what caused the accident, but rather why the accident was able to happen in the first place. During the process of the investigation, the following will be taken into consideration:
- If the accident happened because a procedure or safety rule was not followed, and if so, why the procedure or rule was not followed.
- If the accident was the result of a high-stress environment that demanded production, then investigators will look into why this high-pressure environment was allowed to exist in the first place.
- If safety measures and protocols were followed but an accident still occurred, investigators will look into whether or not such protocols are outdated, and if so, why.
Other aspects of the work environment including safety training, safety equipment, and employee knowledge of safety practices are also scrutinized. In some cases, further investigation may take place where investigators question why an unsafe environment was allowed to flourish under the guise of an environment that had safety protocols in place.
Thorough Accident Investigation and Reporting Leads to Safety Improvements
Moving forward with a thorough investigation into an accident is critical to pinpoint exactly why the accident occurred. When investigators are able to offer specific causes behind an accident, those in charge can move forward with adequately addressing the unearthed safety issues.
Reporting the results of an accident investigation is just as important as the investigation itself. When a report is taken down, a record becomes established. This record can then be used in the future to both defend and even incriminate a party if the same or similar accident were to occur.
Above all, the report is not meant as a way to discourage employers; rather, it should serve as a reminder of opportunity for growth so that worksites, businesses, and other public places do not encounter the same accident twice.
Understanding Your Rights
If you have been injured in the workplace or commercial space, accident investigation and reporting may play a role in your claim. If an employer or place of business is found to have not remedied a safety hazard that then caused your injury, you may be entitled to compensation. At the Kohn Law Firm, our team of attorneys will help you explore all your options related to your personal injury claim. Reach out today to speak with someone about your case.