Workers who report workplace incidents create a paper trail; a record that analysts and regulators can use to determine ways to improve safety conditions around the country. Each report provides details that regulatory bodies can use to identify potential threats so that other workers don’t suffer injuries or wrongful deaths.
Root Cause Analysis
When OSHA receives reports of hazardous workplace conditions, they compile this data to identify the root causes of workplace accidents. The more information individuals include in their reports, the easier it is for investigators to establish the root cause of the accident.
Similarly, employers can use this data to identify the root causes of accidents within the facilities and worksites they maintain. The more information available, the easier it is to determine what happened, how it happened, why it happened, and what needs to happen to correct the problem so that it doesn’t happen again. Thorough documentation includes photographs and video evidence, as well as witness statements, maintenance records, technician reports, etc.
Finding Fault, Not Assigning Blame
Incident investigations are about finding faults in workplace conditions and processes. They are not intended to assign blame to any particular individual. The goal of the investigation is to find ways of improving safety standards within the facility so that workers don’t suffer the same types of injuries in the future.
Most incident investigations are undertaken by supervisors. These individuals often bring together other supervisors and employees to determine potential threats in the workplace. Together, these groups can make corrections that can benefit everyone in the workplace. Often, these investigations uncover safety rules that are ignored, machines that go unserviced, and deficiencies in safety training programs.
What Happens When Workers Don’t Report Workplace Accident or Incidents
When workers don’t report workplace incidents and injuries, they leave the door open for another worker to suffer an injury or wrongful death. When problems go unrecognized, they create a pattern of injuries across the industry. Whether it’s scaffolding problems, failures of a particular type of flooring, electrical hazards with a particular type of machine, etc., the sooner these problems are reported, the fewer individuals will suffer serious, career-ending injuries.