Investigate all accidents and other incidents promptly
Incident investigations help determine the causes of an incident so you can take steps to ensure that the same incident will not happen again. Employers are required to investigate and document the following incidents:
Employers are not required to investigate motor vehicle accidents that occur on public streets or highways; local police generally investigate such accidents.
Who should take part in an investigation?
Everyone in the business has a role to play. Workers must report incidents to their supervisors. Owners, employers, or supervisors must initiate incident investigations promptly. If possible, investigations should include at least one employer representative and one worker representative.
What are the goals of investigation?
As much as possible, an investigation must:
What is an incident?
An incident is an accident or other occurrence that resulted in or had the potential for causing a death, injury, occupational disease, or damage to equipment or property.
The terms incident and accident are often used interchangeably, but the preferred term is incident because it includes near misses as well as accidents.
What is a near miss?
A near miss is an incident in which there is no injury or damage but that could have resulted in an injury or death, or damage to equipment or property. Near misses may indicate hazardous conditions or acts that need to be corrected.
How should investigations be conducted?
Interview witnesses and the people involved in the incident even if they weren’t present at the incident. For example, it may be appropriate to interview a supervisor who gave instructions at the start of the shift or a trainer who previously instructed the workers involved.
Questions to ask
The investigation should answer the following questions:
Factors to consider
Usually there are several factors that cause or contribute to an incident. Try to identify as many causes as possible. Factors to consider when investigating an incident include:
Filing an injury report
After completing an investigation, the employer must prepare an incident investigation report and send copies to:
For more information on incident reporting, refer to the Legislation link on this website or the specific advice on Incident Reporting.
Examples of incidents requiring investigation
Consider the following examples, which may resemble incidents that you may need to investigate. What recommendations would you make to prevent these types of incidents in the future?
Take a unique approach to investigating Musculo -Skeletal Injuries (MSIs)
Investigating musculoskeletal injuries (MSIs) such as sprains or strains may require you to think about events a little differently. MSIs may not result from a single event such as lifting or twisting, but rather from a history of activity. For more information on preventing and investigating MSIs, have a look at our guidance on Preventing Slips, Trips and Falls.