All workplace accidents and incidents, no matter how minor, should be investigated. Also included should be near-miss incidents in which no damage or harm resulted. Completing an accident investigation will be beneficial in determining safety hazards, safety training that will need to be addressed to reduce the risk of more injuries, and to eliminate false claims or insurance fraud. Several steps should be followed, so companies may want to create a checklist to follow until they are familiar with the process. (This is one process we hope you do not do frequently enough to memorize!)
Step 1: Assess the severity of the injury. Is the injury life threatening or can the employee be transported by a supervisor? Would first aid suffice?
Step 2: Obtain medical treatment if necessary. If no medical attention or only first-aid is required, the employer should proceed to step three. Please note that PA has requirements regarding the use of panel physicians. Call Alternative HR if you do not have a Panel List!
Step 3: Interview injured employee and witnesses. Some of the questions to ask during your investigation might include:
- What was the employee doing at the time of the accident?
- Was the employee qualified to perform this operation?
- Were company procedures being followed?
- Is the job or process new?
- Were proper tools or equipment being used?
- Had the employee received training on this operation prior to the accident?
- Where did the accident take place?
Step 4: Observe accident scene and analyze the facts. Observe the accident scene and take photographs of the area, including objects, wet floors, equipment, etc., that may have contributed to the accident. Document any actions that you have taken to secure an unsafe worksite.
Step 5: File a workers’ compensation claim. Provide all information required by your insurance carrier, and fax statements and any other relevant supporting documentation including doctor’s notes, therapy and medical treatment statements, and return-to-work statement. Recordable work-related claims must be recorded on the OSHA 300 log. For details on how to complete an OSHA 300 log, consult Alternative HR!
Step 6: Follow up. Follow up with the employee after the accident investigation has concluded to see how the employee is doing.
Step 7: Corrective action. Corrective action should be identified in terms of how to prevent a recurrence. If an employee violated safety rule, the employer will need to follow disciplinary policy.
Thorough investigations will not only help you identify causes of accidents, it will also help identify fraudulent claims and accident trends. Please give Alternative HR a call today if your company is in need of accident or basic safety training. We can customize a plan to meet your needs!