The HSE set out clear expectations for managing the risk of injury in the workplace including that you should monitor and review any measures you have put in place, to help control risk and prevent accidents and incidents from happening. With almost 700,000 people sustaining an injury at work in 2019/2020, your processes need to be clear and effective.
Findings from your health and safety investigations should form the basis of action to prevent the accident or incident from happening again and to improve your overall risk management. This will also point to areas of your risk assessments or management systems that may also need review.
An effective investigation requires a methodical, structured approach to information gathering, collation and analysis.
now and in the future.
Health and safety investigations form an essential part of the monitoring process that you are required to carry out as well as helping your organisation reduce risk. Incidents, including near misses, can tell you a lot about how things actually are in reality.
Investigating your accidents and reported cases of occupational ill health will help you uncover and correct any breaches in health and safety legal compliance you may have been unaware of.
The fact that you thoroughly investigated an incident and took remedial action to prevent further occurrences would help demonstrate to a court of law that your organisation has a positive attitude to health and safety.
Your health and safety investigation findings will also provide essential information for your insurers in the event of a claim. An investigation can help you identify why the existing risk control measures failed and what improvements or additional measures are needed.
- Provide a true snapshot of what really happens and how work is really done (workers may find short cuts to make their work easier or quicker and may ignore rules - you need to be aware of this);
- Improve the management of risk in the future;
- Help other parts of your organisation learn; and
- Demonstrate your commitment to effective health and safety and improving employee morale and thinking towards health and safety.
Investigating near misses and undesired circumstances, where no one has been harmed, is as useful as, and may be easier than, investigating accidents.
All employers, the self-employed and people in control of work premises have duties under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR).
They must report certain work-related injuries, cases of ill health and dangerous occurrences. RIDDOR applies to all work activities but not all incidents are reportable.
Key actions in effective accident/incident investigation
- Have procedures in place to deal with immediate risks following unforeseen events.
- Create reporting process so that leaders are informed of accidents, incidents or cases of occupational ill health.
- Carry out lessons learnt from the accident/incident history of others in similar industries or organisations - could the same mistakes be avoided?
- Make sure that those responsible are held to account if failings reoccur.
- Formulate plans:
- What must be reported?
- How will reporting procedures be communicated to workers?
- How will work-related ill health, accidents or near misses be recorded?
- Who will assist in the investigation?
- What action will be taken as a result?
- How will you identify trends?
- Make sure that reporting procedures are suitable and sufficient.
- Examine all incident/accident/near-miss reports and identify trends.
- Be proportionate in any investigation, according to the level of risk identified. Establish what happened, when, where and why. Collect evidence:
- Consider what the evidence shows; and
- Compare what you have found against industry standards/HSE guidance etc.
- Investigate accidents quickly to ensure everything is captured.
- 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 and competence etc.
- Record and keep findings:
- They may be required later in a formal investigation or legal proceedings.
- Engage independent specialist help to support complex investigations, e.g. an operation involving major accident hazards.
How can Assurity Plus 2.0 property risk management software support your health and safety incident reporting?
- Our incident reporting module helps you with the efficient capture and investigation of accidents. Allowing you to gather the information you need to report incidents quickly, effectively and capture trend analysis and root cause identification.
- You can keep track of all incidents, accidents and near misses through the incident management module. You can keep a record of all unplanned events as well as creating reactive tasks to investigate and close out root causes to help learn lessons and avoid recurrence.
- You can create and schedule incident reports where you want to identify important trends to help you make clear and timely decisions.
- The content of the reports can be tailored to your own requirements and they can be scheduled to your own chosen frequency, making Assurity Plus 2.0 an ideal platform to support you and your organisation.
For a demonstration of how our Assurity Plus 2.0 property risk management software could be supporting you to help keep your premises compliant, safe and under control contact us.