The accident investigation kit is a collection of items that make your job of investigating easier and better organized. The complexity of your organization will dictate how sophisticated your kit will become but it is easy to see how many of the following items are common sense.
- Pencil and paper
- Measuring tape
- Report forms
- Marking tape and/or cones
- Contact numbers of company management and regulators
- Chalk or lumber crayon
- Camera – this item is becoming obsolete as cell phones are now all equipped with good quality cameras
Other materials would include safety gear such as high visibility clothing, work gloves, hearing protection, and safety glasses. The more complex the investigation the more material you should assemble but remember the purpose behind the kit is so you do not have to go looking for a pencil in the middle of an investigation.
A preliminary investigation is only a portion of a complete investigation process. This Tips & Tricks is developed to help you understand what type of investigation require a preliminary investigation, when it must be completed by, how to do one, and who should receive a copy.
A preliminary investigation must be completed when an incident occurs that causes or had the potential to cause serious injury. Incidents that require an employee to seek medical treatment or reported to WorkSafeBC must also be investigated.
To complete a preliminary investigation, refer to the Employer Incident Investigation Report. The first three pages of the report apply to the preliminary investigation. The remaining page can be completed with the full investigation report.
You can find the Employer Incident Investigation Report by clicking the respective links.
Once completed, a copy of the preliminary investigation must be given to the joint committee (large employer) or the worker health and safety representative (small employer). A copy of an investigation does not have to be submitted to WorkSafeBC unless an officer directs you to provide one.
An investigation gives you an opportunity to determine the root causes of the incident. This lets you see exactly how it developed, usually over a period of time, and lets you put corrections in place that prevent a repeat of the same thing again and again.
Proper preparation starts well before an incident occurs with assembling a team and the materials to enable them to collect information about any incident. The team needs training in how to perform the incident investigation and a clear understanding of the purpose of the investigation. Of course if there is an incident you must make the team available to do the investigation.
Probably the worst error is when the investigation assigns blame to individuals rather than looking for root causes. This is short sighted and prevents any meaningful corrections from being made. The second type of mistake is when investigation is carried out without being documented. Without records you have no proof of your safety activities.
The third type of mistake is when recommendations are not developed from the findings. Why do the investigation if you are not going to learn from it?
And finally, the last type of mistake is when results of investigation are not communicated to staff. When you have made changes you also need to let everyone know what they are so they can be part of the new safer system.