Investigation of workplace accidents and incidents is an essential part of the management of health and safety. Accident/Incident investigation and analysis is a means used to prevent future accidents by determining the root cause. As such, the investigation or analysis must produce information leading to corrective actions to try and prevent and reduce the number of accidents in the workplace. MHSC will conduct an investigation to create appropriate corrective actions and determine root cause so future incidents can be controlled or eliminated. An effective investigation requires a methodical, structured approach to information gathering, collation and analysis which we can provide.
You should always monitor and review any measures you have put in place to help control risk and prevent accidents and incidents from happening. Findings from your investigations can form the basis of action to prevent the accident or incident from happening again and to improve your overall risk management and this will also point to areas of your risk assessments that need to be reviewed.
Is there a legal duty?
Whilst there is no direct legal requirement for employers to investigate accidents there are two pieces of legislation that suggest it might be necessary.
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 require employers to implement measures to control risks in the workplace. They state that you should make arrangements for the “control, monitoring and review of the preventive and protective measures that come from risk assessment.” It can be interpreted that the investigating of accidents would fall under this definition.
It also demonstrates you are working to HSE guidance HSG245 investigating accidents and incidents demonstrating good practice
The Social Security (Claims and Payments) Regulations 1987 require employers to “take reasonable steps” to investigate every accident that is reported to them by an employee.
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:
- Near misses, incidents and accidents whether or not they resulted in injury, damage or disease
- Employees are also required to co-operate in an investigation
- Identify the events that leads to the accident.
- Report the findings after the event in a documented manner
- Develop a plan for corrective action of the accident.
- Implement the corrective action plan putting it in place.
- Evaluate the effectiveness of the actions taken for continuous improvement in the system
Benefits resulting from Investigations
The main benefit from investigations is to reduce the likelihood of further occurrence as well as improving employee morale and promoting a positive attitude to health and Safety. Other benefits can include preventing business losses due to disruption, stoppage, lost orders, damaged corporate image. The costs of criminal and civil legal actions emanating from accidents can also be minimised.
Enforce the safety culture
Health and Safety Accident & Incident Investigations that focus on identifying and correcting root causes improves employee morale and attitude towards health and safety, by demonstrating an employers commitment to a safe workplace. Employees will be more cooperative in implementing new procedures if they were involved in the decision and they can see that hazards are dealt with. Incident reporting is important if resilient safety cultures are to become the norm.
For further information on Health and Safety Accident & Incident Investigations, please contact us here.