The following list can be used as a check for those matters that should be considered when undertaking an accident investigation. It is not exhaustive, but covers the range of essential items likely to need consideration.
Objectives – Discover the facts; Prevent a recurrence of the accident. There is a legal duty to inquire into reported accidents. Employer’s liability insurance – third party insurance. There may be evidence for possible civil actions for damages.
Who Investigates – The Supervisor, the safety adviser, the union representative (joint consultation); this is a formal inquiry.
When should the investigation be undertaken – As soon as possible. Any delay could lead to lost evidence.
Course of Action – Disaster plan; camera, tape measure; emergency telephone numbers, test equipment, etc; early visits and questioning of the injured persons – be aware of the effect of shock.
Approach - Faults of the person; dangerous occurrence – major injuries or damage control; strains and sprains – minor injuries; distinguish between injury and accident.
Technique – Interview one witness at a time; explain the reason for the interview – to discover the cause of the incident; check the knowledge of the witness.
Real Evidence – Productions; broken machinery; sketches and photographs; models; expert examination – the expert may also give his opinion.