Accident may be defined as an unfortunate and an unintentional incident that happens unexpectedly and disturbs the fruitful completion of an activity. It may or may not include damage or injury. Most accidents are caused when people, equipment or the environmental factors fail to behave as expected.
Accident Investigation helps in determining how and why these failures occurred. Though the primary reason behind accident investigation is prevention, there are various other reasons, too, why an accidental investigation is important.
Reasons why an accident investigation is important
1) As stated earlier, the most important reason behind undertaking an accident investigation is to prevent recurring of a similar incident in the future. Accidents may occur due to various reasons. To prevent future occurrence, therefore, the various factors which caused the accident must be examined. Once the causes are known, one must also identify the precautions and implement them to prevent a recurrence. The most important thing to remember is that an effective accident investigation means fact-finding and not fault-finding.
2) For fulfilling legal requirements.
3) To ascertain the cost of accident and determine the amount of compensation.
4) To investigate whether safety regulations were complied with or not.
Importance of accident investigation in an organization
Accident investigations can benefit your organization in the following ways:
- Most importantly, it helps in preventing future accidents.
- You also get a high level of professional safety knowledge which will help in preventing accidents in future. You will be recommended steps to be taken to prevent future recurrence of similar events.
- It will help you identify hazards in your organization and take steps to eliminate them.
- It will help expose deficiencies in processes and equipment which resulted in the accident.
- It also ensures reduced cases of injury and workers compensation costs. The results of the investigation can also be used to defend your organization against claims and compensation.
- It helps in implementing better safety standards and improving employee morale.
- Workers become better trained in preventing accidents of a similar nature in the future and also in the importance of reporting accidents.
- It also helps public at large as employers become more aware of the need to maintain proper safety standards in accordance with the law.
Steps which must be taken in an organization when faced with an accident
When faced with an accident in the organization, one must take the following steps to ensure a proper investigation:
- Provide immediate medical care to the victims.
- Inform the police and law enforcement agencies immediately.
- One must secure the site of the accident immediately to prevent further injuries or mishaps.
- Senior staff members must visit the site and ensure that no evidence is disturbed or tampered with.
- One can also take photographs and document condition of the accident site.
Process of accident investigation
The steps involved in an accident investigation depend on the nature and consequences of the accident and vary from case to case. However, the most common steps that are used are as follows:
1) Inspection of the accident site. This should also include photographs and video of the accident site from various angles.
2) Interviewing the victims, the witnesses, those present at the site before and after the accident and others who could provide useful information.
3) Determine the factors which were not normal and which may have lead to the accident.
4) Review other sources of information.
5) Analyze the data collected.
6) Preparing the final report along with recommendations.
Once the report arrives, the organization should take the below mentioned steps to prevent future accidents:
- Develop and implement a plan for corrective action.
- Evaluate if the plan of remedial measures is effective enough.
- If found lacking in certain areas, make necessary changes in the plan.
Gathering information on the events which occurred before and during the accident helps investigators find out why and how the accident took place. A proper examination of the physical evidence and the accident site along with the interview of the witnesses and victims can ensure a complete and thorough accident investigation. A logical and scientific analysis of the information and data collected helps in determining the causes behind the accident and also preventing future recurrence.
This must be followed by taking corrective action and monitoring of the actions taken to determine their effectiveness.
Who should ideally carry out an accident investigation?
An accident investigation should be undertaken by someone who has the following qualifications:
- experience in investigative techniques and accident investigation
- knowledge of occupational health and safety fundamentals
- knowledge of work processes, procedures and industrial environment
It is believed that an accident investigation carried out by an outsider like a private investigation agency or a private sleuth is more objective and reliable than that carried out by an in-house staff. City Intelligence, which is a leading investigation agency in Delhi, with its extensive experience and expert knowledge in the field of accident investigation can not only help you with a proper accident investigation but can also provide you all the support required in the defense of your organization. We can also help you minimize the workers compensation costs.
About 48,000 workers die in India every year due to occupational accidents. The construction sector accounts for 24.20 per cent of these accidents. Occupational deaths in India are twenty times higher than in the United Kingdom.