Help, I need to investigate an occupational accident!

The main objective of a Prevention Advisor is to keep the number of occupational accidents (and illnesses) as low as possible. If an occupational accident should occur in spite of this, then it is very important to avoid its repetition.

An occupational accident investigation is necessary in order to find out how this incident could have been prevented.

This is the responsibility of the employer, but in practice it often becomes the responsibility of the Prevention Department. How do you begin?

To investigate an accident, one can either carry out a statistical study or an individual investigation. The statistical study is a collection of all the relevant numerical data (time, place, department, age, location, nature of injuries,…) and is useful for providing a clear picture of incidents and accidents at work.

Here, a breakdown is also made between the statistics concerning minor accidents, accidents that do not result in the incapacity to work, accidents that do result in the incapacity to work, accidents resulting in adapted work, serious accidents, very serious accidents and home-work travel accidents.

An individual investigation is carried out using a causal tree and the MUOPO (Person-Equipment-Surroundings-Product-Organization) method.

In the event of a serious occupational accident, it is strongly recommended to also physically investigate the location of the accident. This allows you to collect the facts, photographic evidence, first-hand information from the victim and other useful information.

If necessary, immediate actions can also be taken to ensure the surroundings are safe.

Then schedule a debriefing as soon as possible. During the debriefing, the accident is reviewed together with all required attendees. These are often the victim, any witnesses, the Prevention Advisor, the department head, a training officer and, in the case of a very serious accident, employees from the CPPW. Also, always ask that the PPE, work clothing, tools, etc. that were involved in the accident be brought to the debriefing. These can contribute to the investigation.