Do you know how to investigate an incident?

Industry News By Matthew Coombes

Properly investigating an incident after it occurs is a vital part of risk management.

There are countless things that can contribute towards an incident occurring, so knowing how to capture the right information when one does occur is a vital skill.

If you have a same level slip occur in the workplace, what is the process that you take to avoid it happening in the future?

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Your emergency response should include first aid, and efforts to make the scene safe, but what comes next?

To properly investigate you will first need to safely preserve the scene of the incident, and then accurately capture all of the relevant information; simply knowing what information is and isn’t relevant is half of the process.

With regards to a common and non-complex incident such as same level slip, it’s not as simple as looking at the CCTV and saying ‘done’. You need to gather witness statements if available, take photographs, and review policies, training records, and risk assessments.

Eye witness interviews are a commonly used method of gaining information following an incident. However, without properly preparing what questions you want to ask, you may get information that is not entirely accurate. Something as small as the way that you phrase a question can affect the outcome of the answer. If you use a question such as “Did the person look like they were paying attention to where they were walking?” it can lead the interviewee into questioning whether the person was at fault. How to interview properly is one of the key aspects of the syllabus for the NEBOSH & HSE Introduction to Incident Investigation course.

Another frequently used method of gathering information following an incident is taking photographs of the scene. Photographs are a valuable element of incident investigation, as they can contain a huge variety of information that may point towards the underlying causes, although it is not always as simple as ‘fire and forget’. Without knowing what to look for, what is appropriate to photograph for your investigation, and how to interpret the information that you have captured, your snapshot may turn out to be not worth anything at all.
The NEBOSH & HSE Introduction to Incident Investigation course aims to equip you with all these skills and more, all of which are vital in the wake of an incident. Discovering the root of an issue can stop it from reoccurring in the future, creating a safer workplace for you and your colleagues.

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