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Digging Deeper – A Closer Look Into Accident Investigations

- September 14, 2018 by Leslie Stoll, CSP, ARM (View all posts by Leslie)

Accident investigation is key to preventing future accidents in your workplace. When a near miss or accident occurs, do you investigate to determine why the accident occurred so the issue can be addressed?  Many organizations do an investigation, but do they really address the root cause of the accident or simply try to assign blame?

Developing corrective actions is the most important part of any accident investigation.  In order to develop a countermeasure we need to find the root cause of the injury.  This requires a little effort so to help you out, I’ve listed 10 causes below that should NEVER be considered the root cause.

  1. He wasn’t paying attention
  2. He didn’t listen to what I told him to do.
  3. He is accident prone
  4. He was distracted
  5. He didn’t follow the proper procedure
  6. He was violating company policy
  7. He should have asked for help
  8. He didn’t use the right tool/equipment
  9. He bypassed the safety
  10. He was not supposed to be doing that

The above items may have contributed to the cause but are not the root cause.  Finding the true cause of the injury requires us to ask WHY?

  • Why wasn’t he paying attention?
  • Why was he able to bypass the safety?
  • Why was he distracted?
  • Why didn’t he ask for help?

You may need to ask WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? repeatedly to get to the true cause.  Nobody benefits unless the true cause is identified and corrected. If you see any of the answers from my top ten list on your accident forms, please send the form back to your supervisor and ask them to take a moment to dig a little deeper—you may just find a golden opportunity to make your workplace safer.

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