man with a broken arm and neck

Things to Consider When Conducting a Workplace Accident Investigation

Workplace accidents are a serious liability to employers. Not only do they incur significant harm to the affected victim(s), but they also come with financial consequences for the business. Losing an employee for a specific period isn’t only expensive but also unproductive. You also have to cover the hospitalization costs and raise the workers’ compensation, affecting the business’s overhead. In the event of a road accident, you also have to hire a car or truck accident attorney to have a legal representative.

While workplace accidents are inevitable, there are plenty of ways to reduce or eliminate such circumstances. One way is to conduct a comprehensive investigation to determine the cause of the accident and apply corrective actions. This article will talk about how to conduct a detailed accident investigation and ensure similar accidents won’t happen in the future.

Assess the damage

When an accident takes place at work, the first thing to do is to prioritize the injured individual(s) and examine the injury. In the case of faulty machinery, you may want to halt the operations to avoid further damages and make sure no one is staying near the scene of the accident. Also, preserve the work area to prevent the risk of exposure. This will also protect the evidence and help authorities to conduct a detailed investigation.

If you have a nurse at work, ask them whether the victim(s) needs to be sent to a hospital for immediate medical attention. If medical treatment is necessary, the employer should send the employee to the nearest medical facility with the manager as a companion. The treatment can be done on-site, depending on the injury.

Employee compensation laws have various requirements about having panel physicians for non-emergency treatment. The employer has to find out if their state allows the worker to choose the physician or healthcare facility to receive treatment. They should also provide the employee with necessary forms related to medical treatment. This may include a medical treatment consent form, employees’ compensation panel physicians, return-to-work order signed by the attending physician, a copy of the worker’s job description (to submit to the physician), and the company’s light-duty policy.

Follow up

The employer should regularly check in with the injured employee to see how they are recovering. At the same time, the organization should also contact the insurance firm and provide statements and other supporting documentation, such as a return-to-work order, medical treatment statement, and doctor’s notes.

If the worker gets hospitalized, assign a company representative to make regular visits to the hospital. Make sure to bring small gestures, such as a flower bouquet or a fruit basket, to remind the employee that their employer cares about their welfare. If the employee refuses to receive medical attention, there should be an agreement between the employee and the employer that no treatment was done.

Investigate the accident scene

The investigation process starts after arranging the medical treatment of the injured employee(s). Before getting started, inform everyone involved that the purpose of the investigation is to prevent future accidents and not to blame someone else.

It’s easy to conduct the investigation if you have a designated team in charge. The lead investigator should observe the accident scene, take photographs, gather physical evidence, and identify witnesses. When taking photographs, make sure to include all items that have caused the accident. It can be faulty machinery, a wet floor, an exposed electrical cord, or a container left open. In most accidents, there are usually multiple causes.

As with any process, documentation is crucial. The next step is to write an incident report containing a detailed account of the accident, injury characteristics, the possible causal factors, the people who conducted and participated in the investigation, and other important facts related to the occurrence.

Establish corrective actions

When preparing the final report, it’s important to determine the corrective actions based on the information collected. The purpose of a corrective plan for action is to reduce the damages or eliminate the likelihood of such an accident from happening again. The actions should be constructive and specific and solve the root cause of the accident.

Also, don’t forget to set the deadline for implementing corrective actions. Have the information communicated across the company, including the new policies, to ensure everyone can make necessary adjustments. More importantly, there should be a team to monitor and ensure everyone follows the corrective actions.

Every workplace accident is unique, but the steps above will serve as basic guidance on conducting preliminary investigations. These steps can go a long way in improving the company’s response in tackling employee-related accidents. In turn, this will demonstrate the employer’s commitment to ensuring the health and safety of its workers.

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