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Investigating Workplace Incidents


David Lynn, Peak Safety Performance – 

“When a workforce embraces the importance of reporting, it has an opportunity to correct small problems before they escalate to larger issues” – David Lynn

A company’s actions after a workplace incident occurs have the potential for a significant impact. From immediate reporting to a thorough investigation, there are several steps in conducting a complete and effective response to an incident.

Get Started – Before an incident occurs, it is important for a company to create an environment that promotes active reporting. A workplace environment that encourages safety allows for more accurate and honest communication between employees. Below are three simple measures to establish:

  • Promote the importance or reporting all incidents, large and small
  • Eliminate any punitive action for reporting
  • Create time frames for how quickly workers should report an incident

Conduct an Investigation – Once an incident occurs, a prompt response is vital to accurately assessing the event. Digging deeper into the root causes will allow for more decisive, effective responses. Consider the following steps when conducting your investigation:

  • Why the action made sense to the employee
  • How training affected each step and whether or not more training is required
  • How were safety requirements communicated to employees

Corrective Actions – Following every investigation are corrective actions. These are the steps you take to help eliminate the events and actions that led to the incident. Even if no corrective actions are taken, the attempt to develop a solution signals to your employees that the company is dedicated to a safe working environment.

  • Address all elements with sustainable corrective actions
  • Define who is responsible for these corrections
  • Track the actions and monitor success

Communication – This is perhaps the most important step. Communicating the details of the incident to your employees allows for a broader discussion on safety to further mitigate potential risk. Daily safety meetings are the most effective way of spreading the word and encouraging company-wide discussion.

  • Share incident report with workers and team
  • Communicate solutions, and steps to mitigate the actions that led up to the incident
  • Answer questions and allow for discussion

When organizations invest in a full circle process that focuses on the small things, they can turn a reactive process into a proactive tool”  – David Lynn

If you have any questions about incident investigations, feel free to contact The Integrated Group at or 425-822-8500.

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