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Incident Investigation

Definition - What does Incident Investigation mean?

An incident investigation is an official examination of an unusual, unplanned, undesirable event, apparently of minor significance, which could otherwise cause an accident leading to the loss of property, time, or health of individuals. Incident investigation in the context of health, safety and environment is the scientific and academic analysis of the facts that occurred during an event.

Safeopedia explains Incident Investigation

Incidents need to be investigated whether an incident is a near miss or an actual incident. Investigations reveal the effectiveness of hazard control in an organization and identify before another like incident becomes a serious incident. The objective of the incident investigation is to identify the root cause of the incident. Generally, the supervisor of the scene of the incident investigates the incident firsthand. However, a safety professional with good experience is the best investigator for any incident. Some organizations have a standing investigation committee comprised of management and other employees. Investigators need ample training and experience to investigate an incident. Special templates are also used for reporting the findings and recommendations.

In an incident investigation, there are six basic elements, who, what, when, where, why, and how. Opinions and facts are to be distinguished and interviews, statements, and questionnaires to be recorded. A good investigation is likely to reveal several contributing factors and it probably will recommend several preventive actions as well. The investigation report contains findings and determines who or what circumstances are responsible for the incident. A list of recommendations is reached to prevent future occurrences. The machine safety and process are revised following an incident.

Immediate causes of incidents are:

  • Individual factors - poor knowledge, capability, motivation, attitude and stress
  • Work related factors - poor supervision, materials, machines, procedures, environment and hazard controls
  • Management factors - Poor training, program, compliance and hazard control
This definition was written in the context of Occupational Health and Safety

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