Health and safety investigations are necessary to:
learn from incidents and so prevent a reoccurrence
provide factual information in the event of a civil claim or Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation
When an incident has occurred within a department, any risk assessments covering the task involved should be reviewed to ensure the circumstances of the accident have been taken into account, and any amendments or adjustments should be made to the assessment accordingly.
The Health and Safety Advisory Service (HSAS) reviews all incidents reported to them. If investigation is required they will either:
contact the manager responsible or relevant Health and Safety Liaison Officer and forward them an investigation form
notify the Estates Management Section of premises related incidents, so that they can investigate
more serious accidents will be investigated by HSAS
Be proportionate in any investigation, according to the level of risk identified (the potential harm may be greater than the actual injury). Establish what happened, when, where, why and how:
consider what the evidence shows
compare what you have found against industry standards/HSE guidance etc
Investigate accidents with a high priority - before people’s memories fade and while evidence is still available. Look at root or underlying issues not just immediate causes:
immediate causes - premises, plant and substances, procedures, or people
underlying causes - management arrangements and organisational factors such as design, selection of materials, maintenance, management of change, adequacy of risk controls, communication, competence etc
Record and keep findings (including who gave you the information) - they may be required later in a formal investigation or legal proceedings.
Contact HSAS if you need help with an incident investigation. If you regularly investigate accidents as part of your work you may find it helpful to attend our Accident Investigation Masterclass.