Accident Investigation

In this uncertain world in which we live in today, all types of accidents happen when we very least expect it. Accidents are events which are totally unexpected and also in which may cause injury to people or cause property damage.(business dictionary). When accidents occur, it is of utmost importance that proper investigation on it be conducted. This is so that the same accident could be avoided as well as to prevent accidents of similar nature happen in the future.

There are many main causes of accidents; some accidents may be caused by general factors which may include poorly trained employees, inadequate property and equipment maintenance, weak equipment design and many more. Accidents may also be caused by direct causes such as impairment of the chemicals being used.

Accidents may as well be caused by Indirect causes which may include conditions such as unsafe working conditions and unsafe acts performed by employees. These may be indirect causes of improper training given to employees. Lack of motivation and fatigue on the part of employees may also be considered as indirect causes of accidents. When employees are unmotivated or over fatigued they become careless in work which may lead to accidents/ (Eckhardt, B.)

Accidents may be caused by several different factors. Which is why being able to understand what caused these accidents is exceptionally important. This is so that we could be able to prevent them from happening again in the future .There are several techniques in order to determine the main cause of an accident. One such method is the change analysis method. The main idea of change analysis is to study what changes in the work chain have caused the accident.

The first step in change analysis is to be able to determine first what the main cause of the accident is. The next step is to find out what happened in the accident and compare it to what should really have happened. After this you should be able to identify the differences between the two and you could now evaluate these changes. After doing this, the last step would then be identifying the things that have been affected and those that have not been affected and identify the features or differences of these changes. After all this, make a list of all the probable causes of the accident and identify the most probable cause. (united states coast guard).

Another Technique to determine the cause of an accident is by using the job safety analysis technique. This method is mainly used to study the different processes involved in performing a job. This technique could be used as well as to examine the safety as well as the potential health hazards involved in each job step.

This technique is already widely used in many accident investigations worldwide. The process would involve first identifying the hazard that may have occurred in each step of a job. After doing this, the next step would be to try to suggest ways to prevent such hazards from happening again. If job safety analysis has been practiced before then one could try to review it and see if why the accident still happened. If no job safety analysis was made then it would be wise to create a new one for the job. (Maricopa County).

One last technique that could be used in accident investigations is by applying the root cause analysis technique. Root cause analysis is a problem solving technique wherein the main goal is in being able to identify the main cause of a problem. When using root cause analysis in accident investigations, the entire chain of events that happened in the accident is studied in order to find the “root cause” of the accident. Usually the root causes of accidents are inadequacies in the safety system being used. Other usual factors that may be the root cause of accidents may include mental illness of employees, lack of skills and knowledge of the employees, as well as equipment malfunction and hazardous workplace environment. (12manage).

As discussed earlier, the process of investigating accidents may involve identifying the cause of the accident as well as determining the damage cost caused by the accident. Several factors need to be considered when conducting accident investigations. First it is important that all accidents must be investigated without exceptions and accidents that may cause death or serious injury should be more thoroughly investigated than ordinary accidents. It is also important that accidents should be investigated immediately. It does not matter whether the accidents may be minor or major, all accidents should be answered with a quick response.

Other factors that need to be investigated in accidents include factors like the identities of the injured, the place where the accident occurred, the time when the accident happened, the probable causes of the accident and most importantly ways on how to prevent a similar accident from happening again. The techniques in investigating these things would also differ depending on the nature of the accident as well as the damage the accident may have caused. This is why it is important to first determine the investigation’s scope. It is also important that a team be formed. Each investigator of the team should also be assigned with a task to perform.

Some investigators would be assigned to investigate the production procedures, while others would be assigned to investigating the engineering of the equipment which caused the accident, etc. conducting a briefing to your investigative team to explain to them the facts of the accident is also important. Before taking on their assigned tasks, it is first important that they are aware about the accident like the description of the accident and the damage it had caused. (Utah University).

 After the briefing, the investigative team should now start gathering facts. This would mean that they should start interviewing witnesses that may be around the accident when it occurred. When interviewing people, it is of utmost important that preliminary statements be gathered quickly. The location of each witness during the accident should also be charted. They should also hastily investigate the site of the accident before any changes to it happen. Pictures of the accident scene should also be taken or sketches of it be drawn, try to gather also all available reports. An example of accident photography is a technique that is often used in aircraft accidents. In aircraft accidents, it is important that all photographs are accurate and not hide any details of the scene of the accident.

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Photographs should include the accident itself as well as its surroundings and even the underneath of the aircraft. Pictures should also be taken immediately upon the arrival at the scene of the accident. In aircraft accidents details before extensive fire damage may be lost if pictures are not taken immediately. Among the first photos that need to be taken are those of the rescue operations like the rescuing of the occupants from the aircraft, as well as the medical treatment being given to the survivors of the accident.

The purpose of this is to check if any human failure has caused the accident. Pictures of casualties should show the position of the body in relation to the wreckage. If faced with reporters be sure to not give out information that is unnecessary. All these techniques are not only applicable to aircraft accidents but also other accidents. (integrated publishing).

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