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The Key 5 Questions to ask during an incident investigation

incident investigation questions why what where how when

The Key 5 Questions to ask during an incident investigation

Incident investigation at the workplace is a structured activity carried out by responsible persons to get to the root cause of an incident. More so, It unravels the mystery behind every incident at the workplace. 

An incident investigator uses a sequence of questions to unravel the causes of the incident. The right question structure helps to arrive at the root cause. 

So, to get to the root cause, the incident investigator should ask the following questions during the investigation and is more likely than ever to get to the fact of the incident.

The Important 5 Questions to ask during an incident investigation

  • What happened
  • When did it happen
  • Where did it happen
  • How did it happen
  • Why did it happen

1. What happened?

What happened is a question of knowing the incident. Through this, you will discover the nature of the incident. When an investigator asks this type of question, the answers will point to the direction of the immediate cause of the incident. The investigator can gather his points down. What happened in an incident could be A worker slipping from an oil spillage on the walkway, A car running into the building and damaging the office properties etc.

2. When did it happen?

When did it happen question answers to the time the incident happened. Knowing the time will help to know other things that can occur during that period. For example, An incident may occur at a particular time of the day, maybe a rush hour or break time. 

3. Where did it happen?

This question is trying to establish the incident location. Sometimes, the incident location is responsible for the incident. Knowing the Location is a major important piece of information that aid the investigator during an incident investigation.

4. How did it happen?

This question is trying to establish how the incident happened. It will help reveal the series of events that lead to the incident. Getting this information will aid in a better understanding of the incident that occurred. 

5. Why did it happen?

This question tries to get to the root cause of the incident. It is usually done as the 5 Why’s in incident investigation. The idea of the 5 Why’s is that by the time you would have asked all the 5 why’s, the investigator would have gotten to the root causes of the incident. Each of the WHY will open more failures that lead to the incident that happened.  

Final thoughts: The 5 key questions to ask during an incident investigation

The five-question structure listed above will guide the incident investigator on the best way to get results on the investigation. It will enhance the approach of getting to the facts of the incident. However, an incident investigation is a fact-finding mission and not a fault-finding mission, and getting the above questions right will surely enhance the delivery of the incident investigation. 

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