How to Prevent Repeat Accidents

July 22, 2013 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

One accident is bad enough. But when the same thing happens again… well, that’s too much! Here are some suggestions for preventing repeat accidents.
When an accident occurs, the first thing that needs to be done, of course, is treat any injuries. Then a series of key steps must be taken:
• Secure the area of the incident. Avoid disturbing the scene.
• Gather witnesses and statements. Ask witnesses to write a preliminary statement as soon as possible.
• Retain records. Keep a list of witnesses. Compile all information in a file.
• Inspect accident site. Take pictures and make sketches. Inspect tools and equipment. Take note of personal protective equipment in the area. Look for abnormal conditions.
• Interview witnesses. Create a step-by-step account of what happened. Interview witnesses separately.
• Analyze data. Determine the direct cause (what materials were involved in the accident), the indirect cause (what unsafe conditions led to accident), and the basic cause (what personnel problems, environmental factors contributed).
• Make recommendations. Your recommendations are important. Describe what actions must be taken to correct the situation.
• Issue a report. Make sure the report is circulated to all managers, supervisors, and members of upper management who need to see it.
• Communicate findings to employees. Inform employees about how and why the accident occurred and what steps you are taking to correct problems.
Contributing Factors
During an accident investigation, you should also consider possible contributing causes—even those that might have had only a small impact on the incident. These factors could lead to a repeat accident. For example, consider:
• Was the necessary PPE used?
• Was it available? How difficult was it to access?
• Is there a policy to wear PPE and is it enforced?
• Were tools in proper condition?
• Was machine guarding in place?
• Was equipment inspected prior to use?
• Was the individual(s) properly trained?
• Was the training appropriate?
• Does it need improvement?
Additional Points
• Accident investigations should be fact-finding missions designed to prevent future accidents and shouldn’t be used as a way to point blame.
• It’s a good idea to chart incidents, including near misses, to identify patterns that must be addressed to prevent repeat accidents.

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