In this Episode of Safeti School, we drill down into common mistakes that can be made when during incident investigation. Putting our hands up, we admit to having taken a few misguided steps ourselves in the past.
We’ve teamed up with Alex Burbidge from Pro Safety Management for a few episodes to share our views on a range of topics. We hope you get bucket loads of value from these short podcasts!
Here is the breakdown of 5 common mistakes to avoid with incident investigation!
Avoid you're own Bias
Be careful not to be inadvertently biased towards or against a certain outcome/s. This is something that health and safety representatives and incident investigators can get easily caught out by.
Make sure the incident investigation team is made of people with different perspectives and expertise, this will help you ensure that there is a balanced outcome to your investigation.
Remember, stick to the facts and making assumptions that are not supported by hard evidence.
Time is of the Essence
When an accident or incident occurs, it pays to collect the information and evidence as soon as possible. There are various reasons for this, not least that it’s critical to preserve the scene of an incident before conditions change or can be altered.
It’s also crucial to speak to/interview those involved in a timely manner to ensure that recollection of events is as accurately as possible. The longer time goes on, the more likely it will be that the quality of information deteriorates.
Don't play the Blame Game
Blaming a person, persons or even a business, is not the objective of an incident investigation.
There may be inclination for some of the people involved to deflect responsibility from themselves, self-preservation.
In reality, the goal of an investigation is about preventing future recurrences and this aim should be made clear to everyone involved.
Don't go it Alone
Going back to our first point on avoiding bias, a critical element of a thorough incident investigation is to pull on all of the expertise within your organisation.
As an individual incident investigator, our role is to bring the evidence and expertise together.
This helps us create a picture of what happened, and produce recommendations on how to avoid similar incidents or accidents in the future.
Take the time to find the most suitable people in your business to help with your specific investigation.
Good Work Takes Time
We said at the beginning that time was of the essence.
This is true.
However, it is equally important not rush our investigation. Despite the internal and external pressures that may be facing you, it’s important to ensure that you gather all of the relevant information before drawing any conclusions.
That includes any important details regarding plant, equipment etc. that you need to review against the operating standards in the workplace you are investigating.
Incident Investigation Podcast – Additional Resources
Incident and Accident Investigation Guide – check out our complete guide to incident investigation
Safeti – pay us a visit at safeti.com for more free content, learning materials and support services
Richard Collins – connect with the podcast host on Linkedin
Safeti School: for more free, educational HSE content visit the Safeti School podcast page