There should be a written procedure for investigating accidents, ideally, the supervisor of the section where it occurred would carry out an immediate examination. If the seriousness of the accident warrants it, a further examination by a qualified specialist, such as a safety adviser, engineer, etc., should also be carried out.

How the finding of these examinations are recorded will depend on the sophistication of the firm’s organization, but could be a pre-printed form or a manuscript report or a combination of the two.

Any investigation to obtain the most accurate evidence possible should be undertaken immediately after an accident. It should be concerned with obtaining facts to establish the cause of the accident and not with finding out who was to blame. Wherever possible, the accident should be discussed at an early stage with the injured person to get his version of the events. If the injured person is either sent home or to hospital this may have to wait until he can be visited.

Witnesses should be interviewed as soon as possible. In the taking of their evidence, care must be taken to differentiate between what are measurable facts and what is hearsay or opinion. They should be interviewed one at a time, but may be accompanied by a union representative.