Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
“The main objective of an investigation is prevention. A good investigation aims to establish a series of events that should have taken place and compares it to what actually happened to identify areas that need changing.”
There are hazards in all workplaces; risk control measures are established to reduce the risks to an acceptable level to prevent accidents and cases of ill health. Hence, incident investigations are carried out to determine the cause of an incident. After which, the management identifies unsafe conditions or acts and recommends corrective actions so that similar incidents do not happen again.
Incident investigation is a process for reporting, tracking, and investigating incidents that includes:
- a formal process for investigating incidents, including staffing, performing, documenting, and tracking investigations of process safety incidents and
- the trending of incident and incident investigation data to identify recurring incidents.
Only after an investigation is carried out, then the management will understand how and why things went wrong. It would provide a deeper understanding of the different ways workers can be exposed to factors that are potentially detrimental to their health and safety levels in the workplace. The investigation report also provides a true picture of what happens at work and if workers are following all standard procedures and rules in place. More importantly, deficiencies in the risk control processes are identified and rectified, further improving the safety levels in the workplace.
4 reasons why incident investigation and reporting is important:
- Hazards to be identified
- Enforce the safety culture
- Reduce the frequency of incidents
- Prompt incident reporting are huge cost savings
Hazards to be identified
Incident reporting can act as a “heads up” to management that helps identify potential deficiencies or problem areas that need to be fixed. Most incident report forms identify the barriers that prevent adverse situations from developing into a major accident or disaster.
Enforce the safety culture
Incident investigations that focus on identifying and correcting root causes improves employee morale and attitude towards health and safety, by demonstrating an employer’s commitment to a safe and healthful workplace. Employees will be more cooperative in implementing new safety precautions 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 industry norm.
Reduce the frequency of incidents
While investigations may only provide feedback concerning the specific incident scenario, causal factors of an incident are still reported. Addressing these factors can reduce the frequency of the causes of the incident and/or reduce the consequences of future similar incidents.
Prompt incident reporting are huge cost savings
Organisations also benefit through huge cost savings when incident investigations and reporting are done promptly. A 2001 study showed that claims reported within two weeks were 18% more expensive than claim reported in a week. Furthermore, claims reported more than five weeks from the date of injury were 45% more expensive. In addition, the cost of maintaining the incident reporting program is much cheaper than the cost of accidents or major incident.
- Workplace Safety and Health Council – Investigating Workplace Incidents for SMEs
- HSE UK Investigating Accidents and Incidents – A Workbook for Employers, Unions, Safety Representatives and Safety Professionals
- The Safety Library – Accident Investigation
- Ministry of Manpower (MOM) Singapore – A Guide to Workplace Safety and Health (Incident Reporting) Regulations
- Singapore Civil Defence Force – Guidelines for Company Emergency Response Plan
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration – Incident Investigations: A Guide for Employers
Effective Incident Investigation and Reporting is a 3-day training course held from 27-29 January 2020 (Dubai), 15-17 February 2020 (Qatar) and 6-8 April 2020 (Kuala Lumpur). Delegates will achieve a comprehensive overview of incident investigation and reporting that is aligned with most regulatory requirements and learn how to use effective investigation and interviewing techniques to gather complete, objective and accurate data. Delegates will also develop understanding of how to analyzing incidents to identify root causes and get awareness about the human relations aspects of incident reporting.