How to Write a Thorough Accident Report

No one wants accidents to happen in the workplace, but sometimes they do. To keep their employees as safe as possible, corporations must evaluate current incidents to prevent future tragedies.

Thoroughly documenting and understanding an accident or a near-miss is the first step toward improving safety processes. Use these five guidelines to write a more accurate and effective accident report.

Find the Facts

Fact finding must begin as soon as everyone’s safety is ensured. An on-site accident investigation should begin while the event is fresh in people’s minds. Even a short delay may lead to less reliable accounts.

Companies should use a standardized form to collect essential data. Although many organizations choose to create their own investigative materials, the United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) also provides downloadable recordkeeping forms on their website.

Required information may include: date, time, location, injured employee information (name, job title, department, supervisor), names and accounts of eyewitnesses, specific injuries, treatments administered, and equipment and/or plant damage.

Record the Sequence of Events

Finding out the exact actions and circumstances that led up to an accident, as well as the response to the incident, can be instrumental in reducing and eliminating hazards. Ask questions such as: “What was the employee doing?” “What were the conditions before, during and after?” “How did nearby workers respond?” In addition to written reports, an organization may use photographs and diagrams to provide greater detail and further insight.

Analyze the Causes

Once the data is recorded, an employer can create a clearer picture of what happened and why it happened. Primary causes, such as failure to follow directions, are often accompanied by secondary causes such as lack of proper training. Environmental and other contributing factors may come into play as well.

Provide Recommendations

One of the most important functions of an accident report is to prevent future incidents. Organizations must apply what they have learned to make their company safer for everyone. Here are some corrective actions that may be suggested after an accident in the workplace.

  • Immediate employee training
  • Long-term, regularly scheduled safety programs
  • More robust intervention methods (e.g., any employee can halt an unsafe production line)
  • Re-evaluation of procedures
  • Job-hazard analysis
  • Preventive maintenance
  • Changes in engineering or the way a job is performed

Finally, writing thorough accident reports is not only the right thing to do, it is the law. The U.S. Department of Labor requires companies with more than 10 employees to keep a record of serious work-related injuries and illness. These records must be maintained on-site for at least five years. Find out if your organization is compliant at OSHA Injury and Illness Recordkeeping and Reporting Requirements.

Are you looking for more ways to make your business better? At Aventure Staffing, we publish a weekly blog with tips and advice for companies of all sizes. Contact us today to learn more!

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