An effective and systematic incident investigation program is a key driver to the continuous improvement of your health and safety program, policies.
When a serious incident or accident occurs in your workplace, a preliminary investigation must be done. When possible, complete a full investigation while the incident is fresh. If you cannot complete it immediately, conduct your preliminary investigation must be done within 48 hours.
Your incident investigation program should include:
- Written instructions or procedures – including how to conduct investigations
- Responsibilities of employer, supervisors, workers, and others involved in investigations
- Incident reporting to the appropriate authorities
- Incident investigation reports
- Communication of investigation findings and corrective actions to all staff
- Training of employees involved in the investigation process
- Regular review of this program
Incident reporting and investigation
Health and safety legislation requires that ALL workplace incidents that involve an injury or illness be reported as soon as possible.
The Worker Compensation Act (Part 2, Division 10, Section 68) lists the types of accidents that an employer MUST report to WorkSafeBC. They include:
- The death or serious injury of a worker
- Major structural failures or the collapse of a building, bridge, tower, crane, hoist, temporary construction support system, or excavation
- Significant release of a hazardous substance
The employer and WorkSafeBC must also investigate these types of incidents.
You must also immediately investigate any incident where:
- a resulting injury or illness required medical attention
- there was potential to result in serious injury to a worker
- it is required by legislation
A car accident on a public road does not require an investigation.
The process for investigations is outlined in the Workers Compensation Act (Part 2, Division 10, Sections 70-72).
Three activities are prescribed by the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation (Section 3.28). The Employer Representative and Worker Representative should participate in investigations and:
- Assist with gathering information
- Assist with analyzing the information
- Assist with identifying any corrective actions
It’s critical to have a process to follow up on your incident investigations ensure that any identified hazards are corrected with an effective, and timely, solution.
- Assign actions to a specific person on your time with a completion date
- Have a manager verify or follow up on the corrective action and sign off on it.
- Include the Worker Representative in any corrective actions
Inform your staff of any incident causes and corrective actions that emerge from your investigation. Keep personal information private and confidential. You can communication the outcomes from incident investigations at:
- crew talks
- staff meetings