Accident reporting and investigation is often seen by employers as something that gets in the way of their core business. Worse still, many employers consider that even acknowledging accidents is self-incriminating – and only a very small percentage actually undertakes either activity properly. With the current weather contributing to the hazards in and around the workplace, it’s unrealistic to expect a ‘no accident’ environment.
Here are some typical myths:
Any unplanned incident needs investigation – even if nobody was hurt. A proper accident investigation keeps asking ‘why’ until the actual root cause is discovered.
Inevitably, the fault almost always rests with the management – hence the worry about self-incrimination – but ignoring the issue only means that it is likely to happen again, potentially with a far worse outcome. Even if it’s the result of people horsing around – if it’s happened before, the management is responsible – allowing this to take place, turning a blind eye, or saying ‘now, now, lads, take it easy’ isn’t enough to avoid a civil claim and/or a prosecution in serious cases.
Even if nobody was hurt this time, what happens if a serious injury or a fatality does occur? Proper investigation will establish what actually happened and enable action to be taken to prevent the same thing happening again. It can also turn adversity to advantage by increasing efficiency and effectiveness – so better results in less time with fewer people – and, consequently more profit!