The main purposes are
- To learn accident causes so that similar accidents can be prevented by employment of working conditions, actions and supervision. This helps in designing accident prevention strategies
- To make the hazard known to the management, workers and supervisors to direct their attention to accident prevention.
- To find facts to determine legal liability and information for preventive purposes. if the purpose is ‘to fix blame or responsibility’ vital information will often be withheld or distorted. Therefore an investigation should be for the preventive purposes to disclose facts and not faults.
- To establish procedure to combat damage claims under compensation laws.
- To determine the ‘change’ or deviation that produced an ‘error’ that in turn resulted in an accident (systems safety analysis).
- In case of accident affecting the society as a whole the Government may intervene for the purpose of banning of the hazardous material or process.
- To find out injury rates to compare safety performance.
- To use the record for the purpose of job safety analysis
- To develop safety rules, procedures, bulletins, posters and material for safety meetings and motivation.
- To amend the safety law if it is thought necessary by the Government.
Process and Types of Accident Investigation:-
Process of investigation includes observation at site, interrogation with workers, fact findings judgment and recommendations.
Some objective questions to be considered and answered by the investigator are : Who was injured, what was he doing at that time, where was he, who was with him, what he has to say about happening, what part of the injured is involved, how was he injured, what was unsafe-the condition, the method or the action of the injured? What does the medical report suggest, what safeguards should be used, what safeguards are provided to prevent recurrence and what are yet to be provided. Such and similar other questions and their answers constitute a Supervisor’s Accident Report
The first requirement for the injured person is to provide him medical treatment. it is a mistake to make him upset by questions. It is advisable to wait till he recollects his thoughts and gets his nerves under control. initial story should be collected from spot checking and interrogation with co-workers and eye-witnesses. There should not be delay in initial inquiry. The conditions should be kept unaltered pending the investigation. Photographs sketches notes computer and DCS records etc. will help much. Chronological questions should be asked and the concerned facts should be collected testing repo1ts, registers, and documents, instructions, defective or damaged parts etc. The fact findings should aim to determine exact causes of the accident. All causes should be considered and classified according to severity and responsibility for preventive purpose. As the last step, suggestions and recommendations for the prevention should be submitted in writing Ai emphasis should be put to suggest engineering controls than to suggest human responsibilities I it needs, training methods should be suggested Effectiveness and practicability of the recommendations . should not be forgotten Implementing difficulties should be considered an replied. Then. the report is sent to the management for implementation.
All fatal and serious accidents and dangerous occurrences must be investigated thoroughly and all reportable, nonfatal and repetitive accidents should also be inquired, if time permits non reportable and near-miss accidents should also be investigated.
Agencies investing accidents
In case of statutory reportable accidents, generally factory inspectors (Govt. Labour Dept.) investigate, but, because of a small number of staff and big number of accidents in hundreds of factories in their charge, obviously, they cannot investigate all small accidents reported to them. They investigate serious and fatal accidents and give detailed report showing the facts, breach of law if any, and remedial measures. They may order to prohibit the use of some plant, equipment, process or premises if it is found of imminent danger to them. Investigation of Bhopal accident resulted into an order of permanent closer of the factory. A committee may be constituted by the Govt. to inquire into serious accidents. The finding may be used to amend the safety law if required.
Major, permanent and. immediate responsibility of accident investigation lies upon the factory management and it is in their interest also. Even then it is noticed that majority of the small factories have not yet thought to self-inspect or investigate their own accidents They simply report and rest upon the insurance. This is not good Each factory should have its own system or arrangement to investigate accidents, hazards and to suggest and implement the remedial measures. This 1s most advisable and useful for the purpose 0f safely. They may utilize safety consultancy services of safety specialists.
Depending upon the gravity and nature of the accident it may be investigated by foreman or supervisor, safety officer, engineer, safety committee or an expert group including consultants. The supervisor should report and investigate each accident, as he is the nearest man having more knowledge of the accident facts and remedial measures. safety officer should investigate each
Important accident for his own information and report to the top management necessary steps. His specialized knowledge, training, experience and ability make his report more valuable and useful in preventing recurrence. The safety committee report is sometimes more effective as it carries workers’ voice as representatives in the committee and rich knowledge of the Department Head. The information gained from accident investigations should be used throughout the establishment where it is applicable. All similar or identical possibilities should be judged to prevent similar accidents.
Accident Analysis (Classification)
Investigation and analysis go together. The facts found forms the investigation are first analyzed. The analysis should reveal one hypothesis to explain all the facts adequately. Result oriented Objective Analysis procedure should include the following.
- Identify and locate the main source of accidents from actual experience, materials, machines, tools, jobs, men and methods most likely to produce injuries.
- Disclose the nature and size, of the accident problem in departments and among occupations.
- Indicate the need for engineering revision by identifying the unsafe conditions, materials, equipment and environment.
- Disclose inefficient operating procedures, processes, poor layout and outdated methods to reduce accidents.
- Disclose the unsafe practices for training 0 employees.
- Disclose improper placement of personnel in instances of handicaps contributing to accidents.
- Guide supervisors to use their maximum time for safety work by providing them information about the hazards in their departments.
- Evaluate the success of a safety programme by continuing analysis of the effects of different safety measures, educational techniques and other methods to prevent injuries.