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Who should conduct an accident investigation?

accident investigation personnel photo

Accident investigation reveals the immediate, underlying and root causes of an accident.

However, not all persons are qualified to undertake such a process to get a desirable outcome. 

Who is the person responsible for an accident investigation?

The personnel responsible for an accident investigation are

  • A member of the management 
  • A safety officer 
  • The supervisor or the foreman of that department
  • Employees representative.
  • Specialist

#1. A member of the management.

You will recall that most accidents causes are because of management failure in a system.

The management failure could be what the management failed to do or what they did wrong.

One key objective of the investigative process is to provide the management with reasons why the policies and procedures failed to prevent such an accident. 

The management makes decisions, sets directions and even allocates resources. So it is expedient that a management member is among the investigation team and will be actively involved in the investigative process.

#2. Supervisors or foremen

The immediate supervisor or foreman can conduct an investigation. The supervisor knows his direct workers very well. 

When an accident happens, the supervisor can easily explain the effects of what happened and is even more qualified to investigate the accident than the safety officer and any member of the management. 

There are also many reasons why the supervisor is in a better position than others to conduct the accident investigation.

  • The supervisor knows all his workers very well than anyone else. 
  • The supervisor knows the activity since it happened within his work activity. More positioned and well-suited to arrive at a better logical conclusion than anyone else.
  • The supervisor can easily explain the effects of the accident. And how the accident has affected the morale and efficiency of the team to the management more than anyone else,

#3. Safety Officer (Safety practitioner) 

Most times, when an accident is serious, a safety practitioner conducts an accident investigation. In this case, the supervisor of the section the accident happened may not have the requisite skill for that investigation.

Ultimately, the safety practitioner will still need the supervisor’s support during the investigation.

#4. Employee representative.

Employee representatives can conduct an accident investigation. However, they have to get the necessary approval from the management if they want to do so.

#5. Specialist.

An investigation requires an expert if the accident is a serious one.  

The management can invite specialists like a safety engineer or safety adviser to carry out the process on behalf of the company.

The specialist will perform every task as needful in the investigation to:

  • Interview witnesses from the accident that happened
  • Make drawings or sketches and take photographs while gathering information about the accident.
  • Writing of report at the end of the investigation process.

Final thoughts: Who should conduct an accident investigation?

Conducting an accident investigation is not meant for anyone within the organization. However, a reasonable person who is assigned and skilled in the process must carry it out.

However, the management sets direction and allocates resources. They should always be proactive in making necessary changes towards having the right hand to conduct an accident investigation, or else the result will not cause the needed improvement in the system. 

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