Investigation of workplace accidents and incidents is an essential part of the proactive management of health and safety. Undertaking investigations of both those accidents that result in injury or death, as well as near misses, in a systematic and organised way will benefit any organisation. Analysis of and accurate information about previous accidents and near misses helps to prevent them recurring. Health and Safety Executive inspectors (or local authority Environmental Health Officers, depending on jurisdiction) may also carry out an investigation of an accident within their enforcement powers.
There is no explicit legal duty for employers to investigate accidents, but certain regulations do imply the need to carry out accident investigations.
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 imply that investigating the causes of workplace accidents is considered an essential part of good health and safety management, and of the risk assessment review process. It forms the “check” part of the Plan, Do, Check, Act approach in the HSE’s HSG65 Managing for Health and Safety.
Employees have a duty to co-operate with employers to enable them to fulfil their statutory duties under the Health and Safety at Work, etc. Act 1974. This would include reporting dangerous occurrences, near misses and accidents whether they resulted in injury, damage or disease. Employees are also required to co-operate in an investigation.
There are certain steps that need to be followed for an effective and full investigation to be undertaken, and Safety For Employers will aid in the process by providing full support throughout each step or undertaking the investigation for you.