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How to investigate accidents and why?

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Whenever an employee is involved in a workplace accident, it is their supervisor and management team’s responsibility to conduct an accident investigation. However, in order for these accident investigations to be effective, they must be performed correctly. The following 6 steps are what you should do in order to perform an effective accident investigation.

Step 1: Collect Information

The first step that you need to take is to get a brief overview of how the accident unfolded from witnesses that were directly involved in the accident. The goal of this first step is to gather as much information as possible to gain a basic understanding of how the accident occurred.

Step 2: Establish the Facts

This is where you look for signs that will help you better understand what happened for the accident to have occurred. This includes examining the accident scene and looking for underlying causes that contributed to the immediate cause of the accident.

Step 3: Establish The Contributing Factors

Contributing factors can include different things as it often depends on the type of operation that a business runs. However, the most common factors can include environmental factors, systems, procedures and employee behaviour. Out of all the contributing factors, employee behaviour is one of the most common factors and could be due to carelessness, mental health issues or having a poor management system in place.

Step 4: Determine The Root Causes of The Accident

Whenever an accident takes place, there is normally more than one root cause. Because of this, it is essential to identify all of the root causes as well as the immediate cause. An excellent example of this would be if an employee suffered a fall. Look beyond the immediate causes such as a trip hazard, as you may find that there is unsuitable lightening in the area where the accident took place.

Step 5: Determine The Corrective Measures

Once you have investigated, know what happened, and why the accident occurred, you are ready to determine the corrective measures. This is so you can fix the issue(s) so you can avoid a repeat accident.

Step 6: Introduce The Corrective Measures

This is where you put your corrective measures in place. And then, follow up the corrective measures to ensure that they were sufficient enough to mitigate against a similar accident taking place in the future.

Important note

Make sure that all information is stored as per your Data protection policy and that the information is not shared without the permission of your insurance/ health and safety manager.

The Reporting of Accidents

Even with preventative measures in place, accidents do unfortunately still occur within the workplace. After an accident takes place, it is absolutely crucial that the accident investigation process gets started and completed correctly. In most cases, accidents are required to be reported in-house. However, there are certain types of accidents that need to be reported to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). These types of accidents are stated on a piece of health and safety legislation known as the Reporting of Injury Disease and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR). This legislation requires all employers to report certain types of accidents by telephone or via the internet within a 24-hour timeframe.

 At Terra Firma 360, we are expert health and safety consultants, and provide bespoke training to many different types of businesses and industries. If you would like help with accident investigation and risk management within your business, then please get in touch with today! Call us on 020 3326 5137 or email

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