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How can investigating accidents and incidents help prevent them in the future?

Despite all your hard work to put health and safety protocols in place an accident may still happen.


How you respond is very important. Investigating an accident can help manage risks in the future.

Make sure you have a procedure in place for investigating accidents. This will ensure that lessons are learned and shared. When you understand what went wrong, you can improve  your risk management. Even a near miss where nobody was harmed can bring lessons to prevent a potential accident

Investigating accidents in the workplace can help you in the following ways:

  • Improve existing control measures. Identify where existing methods of risk control have failed and how to improve them. You may also decide to put further measures in place.
  • Prevent recurrence of the incident. Once you understand the cause, you can prevent the same incident from happening again. Avoid a recurrence of the incident by planning, training or risk control.
  • Update your risk assessments. Investigating an incident can highlight an area of your risk assessment for review. Keep your risk assessments up to date with any changes.
  • Uncover health and safety compliance breaches. Identify and remedy any failures to comply with health and safety law. You will show a pro-active and positive commitment to health and safety
  • Improve future risk control. Investigating an accident brings lessons and new processes to control future risks.
  • Provide essential information for insurance claims. Investigating the cause of an incident provides information that insurers might need.
  • Help your team and other parts of the organisation to learn. Sharing the results of an investigation will help others to learn. Everyone can improve their awareness and processes around this type of incident.

Workplaces which recognise a Trade Union may have a health and safety representative. This person is entitled to investigate and report any dangerous incidents that occur. They may also look into any potential hazards in the workplace.

The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) outlines responsibilities for all employers, self-employed and people in charge of work premises. Certain work-related injuries, cases of illness and dangerous incidents must be reported. Further information about what to report and how to report it are available on HSE’s RIDDOR site.

If you need  support to put accident investigation procedures in place, we are here to help. Drop us a line today to discuss a tailored training package. Getting the right training can bring you peace of mind and keep you compliant with health and safety law.


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