Creating Safer Workplaces: The Purpose and Value of Incident Investigations

As safety consultants, we understand that accidents, injuries, and near misses can be stressful, frustrating, and even scary for everyone involved. However, it’s important to remember that incident investigations serve a vital purpose in preserving human life through workplace safety. Here’s what you need to know about the purpose and value of incident investigations from STC:

The Importance of Following OSHA Guidelines

At STC, we know that OSHA requires employers to conduct accident investigations for all OSHA-recordable injuries. Additionally, insurance providers require incident documentation for incidents that result in or may result in a claim. But incident investigations serve a much greater purpose than just fulfilling legal requirements.

The Prime Objective: Preventing Future Incidents

The primary objective of an incident investigation is to prevent future incidents. It’s not about placing blame or applying discipline. Incident investigations help us gather factual information about who, what, where, when, and how an incident occurred. Once this information is collected, we can analyze the incident and identify the root causes.

Analyzing Root Causes: A Deeper Look

Root causes are the underlying reasons for an incident. For example, if an employee cuts their hand because they weren’t wearing gloves while handling sharp material, it may seem like simple employee negligence. However, upon further analysis, it may be revealed that the employee needed to be provided with gloves, or the supervisor never wears gloves and doesn’t require their team to wear them. In this case, it would require re-evaluating our training program and identifying new corrective actions.

Sharing Valuable Lessons Learned

We must share valuable lessons learned with the entire company and our peers. In the construction industry, workers and crews are divided across a geographic area and may have yet to contact those on-site where the incident occurred. Likely, the same problems you’re experiencing on one site are also happening on others.

In conclusion, incident investigations serve a vital purpose in preserving human life through workplace safety. They are not about placing blame or applying discipline but instead identifying root causes and implementing corrective actions to prevent future incidents. At STC, we strive to create safer workplaces by following OSHA guidelines and sharing lessons learned.

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