Avoid repeat accidents
 Aug. 23, 2013

One workplace accident is one too many when an accident reoccurs. Here are a couple of practices that may help your organization keep from repeating an accident.

The first priority after an accident is to ensure the injured worker receives medical care. But, once that has taken place you need to complete a thorough accident investigation with an eye towards avoiding a reoccurrence.

The sequence of the investigation should be:

  • Investigate
  • Analyze
  • Correct
  • Communicate

It seems obvious, but when an accident occurs the top priority is getting the injured person medical treatment. The following steps should be taken after immediate medical attention including:

    1. Secure the area where the accident occurred. Preserve damaged equipment or materials.

    2. Identify witnesses and take or record their statements. You may want to request the witnesses write a preliminary statement as soon as possible in the event you can't interview them immediately. When you interview witnesses, interview them separately.

    3. Carefully inspect the accident site. Take pictures, make sketches or diagram the relationship of equipment to workers. Inspect tools and equipment for mechanical problems. Determine what personal protective equipment was in the area and if it was used. Look for conditions that appear unusual. 4. Analyze the accident factors. Identify the direct cause, particularly what materials or conditions were involved in the accident. Look for unsafe conditions and unsafe acts that may have led to the accident.

    5. Make corrections to the process. Your analysis should include recommended corrections or changes to training, the work process or even materials and the equipment used. Remember, correct any unsafe acts. Describe what actions must be taken to correct the situation.

    6. Communicate findings to managers, supervisors and employees. Inform employees about how and Equipment/Tools why the accident occurred and what steps you are taking to correct problems.

There are certain common characteristics in work related injuries. Keep these questions in mind as you investigate causes, interview witnesses and analyze the accident. Areas to consider include:

    Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • Was the necessary PPE used?
  • Was it available?
  • How difficult was it to access this equipment?
  • Is there a policy to wear PPE and is it enforced?
  • Equipment/Tools
  • Were tools in proper working condition?
  • Was the machine properly guarded?
  • Was any guarding removed?
  • Was equipment inspected prior to use?
  • Training
  • Was the individual injured properly trained?
  • Does the training need improvement?

For more information on avoiding repeat accidents contact CMTA at wcgroup@cmta.net.

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