OSHA's 4-Step System for Investigating Workplace Incidents

Source: Enablon Insights.

Incident investigation should be an important part of any occupational health and safety program. All incidents should be investigated, from near misses to accidents resulting in death, injury or property damage. Incident investigations help prevent future incidents by uncovering their root causes. This makes it possible to identify workplace hazards and implement corrective and preventive action plans.

To help organizations conduct effective incident investigations, OSHA has made available a number of resources, including an Incident (Accident) Investigation Guide for Employers. The purpose of the guide is to provide employers with a systems approach to help them identify and control the underlying or root causes of all incidents in order to prevent recurrence. The approach consists of 4 steps:

1) Preserving/documenting the scene of events

2) Collect information

3) Determine root causes

4) Initiate corrective actions

Ensure that all information relevant to an incident is collected.

Incident information is collected through interviews, document review and other methods. To help ensure that all information pertinent to an incident is collected, OSHA’s 4-step guide for investigating incidents is available here.

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