Accident and incident are two words that are often interchanged. But in reality, their definition is very different from one another. An accident is defined as "an unplanned, unwanted but controllable event which disrupts activity and may cause injury to people or property damage."
Meanwhile, incident is "an unplanned or unwanted event which disrupts the work process but can only potentially cause injury, harm, or damage to persons or property." It may be a series of events which could lead to harm or damage.
In most scenarios, accident is used to describe both situations, and that includes in the workplace. Workplace accidents have to be investigated by a qualified person who has years of experience and full knowledge of the process.
Aside from a certified investigator, the supervisor, safety officer, health committee, union representative, government representative, or even employees with knowledge of the work may conduct workplace investigation.
The investigation of a workplace accident involves the following steps:
- Gathering Information
- Analyzing the Information
- Identifying Risk Control Measures
- Action Planning and Implementing
But why is it important to conduct workplace investigation? Of course, it is to discover the cause of the accident. Usually, the immediate cause of the accident is what the investigators discover at first. Immediate cause is the direct reason as to why the accident happened. For example, a wet floor is the reason behind a slip.
However, the root cause, or the underlying cause behind the immediate reason, should also be inspected. Logically, there has to be a reason as to why a floor is wet. The root cause should be the one to be controlled in order to prevent any more similar accidents in the future.
A workplace accident needs to be investigated also for the following reasons:
- For the company to perform any legal requirements.
- In order to know the total cost of the accident. Equipments that were broken and the amount needed to fix it are included in the total cost.
- To determine the safety regulations that was broken. The accident may have been a result of negligence or carelessness.
- Processing of worker's compensation if ever it results to injury.
- To work on the hazards of the workplace.