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The term 'accident' or 'incident' can be defined as an unplanned event that interrupts the completion of an activity, and that may (or may not) include injury or property damage.
Incidents that involve no injury or property damage should still be investigated to determine the hazards that should be corrected. The same principles apply to a quick inquiry of a minor incident and to the more formal investigation of a serious event.
Usually someone who is familiar with Health and Safety and has some experience of accident investigations should lead an investigation. The following people may also be useful;
It is important that accidents are investigated in a way which seeks to identify the underlying and root causes as well as the immediate cause. For example, we will look at a simplified accident.
An employee is injured and suffers a broken leg.
Immediate cause: The worker falling off the ladder and landing on the concrete floor.
Underlying cause(s): a) The step ladder was missing a foot. b) The employee wasn't trained to check the step ladder before use.
For more information see the Investigating accidents and incidents: A workbook for employers, unions, safety representatives and safety professionals book (ISBN: 0717628272) which can be found on the HSE books site.
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